Companies should diversify portfolios

We are all agreed that diversification is one of the best options to grow Zambia’s economy.

The need to do so arises from the  fact that there are many more avenues we can explore other than depend on copper alone to bring the country the much-needed export earnings.

The abundant God-given resources Zambia has should be put to good use, that is, they should create wealth that will benefit the country’s citizens and lift the index on export earnings.

The current economic challenges have left a negative impact on most enterprises. A number of them are struggling to break even in the realm of a harsh economic environment.

But these challenges have propelled some companies to consider novel ways of keeping afloat while remaining relevant to their customers. At the same time, the novel ways are also earning them more customers.

We have in mind the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines – Investment Holdings (ZCCM –IH), which is diversifying its operations from mining to agriculture.
In support of such initiatives, government is tailoring its policies towards growing the economy, and the business sector would do well to take advantage of these policies.

Agriculture is not like mining. While mining may offer huge returns, they may not last longer than the ones offered in agriculture.

We are taught, from our secondary school lessons that copper is a wasting asset. Once it leaves the soil, there is no replacing it until we get to a point when we do not have it anymore.

With this in mind, the need to find other options to sustain a livelihood becomes imperative.

We can argue that it is difficult to come up with a sustainable way of mining but this is not the case with farming. As long as we use sustainable methods of preserving land, it will remain usable by future generations.

In comparison to mining, farming is a lot cheaper because it demands less labour and the processes involved in arriving at the final product are less expensive.

We therefore commend the ZCCM–IH for looking at eucalyptus production as an option to its current economic activities.

ZCCM-IH chief executive officer Pious Kasolo says the project will be established in Muchinga Province. It is expected that from the project, ZCCM-IH will produce biomass, fuel, essential oils, fertiliser, among other things.

We want to believe that the establishment of the project means the setting up of a plantation which will host the plants from which the by-products will come.

By its nature, a plantation will provide jobs for the local people and so will other processes that will involve extraction of the by-products from the plants.

If handled well, the project offers positive prospects that will propel not only the economy of Muchinga Province but the country at large and contribute to the gross domestic product.

There are a number of enterprises that are struggling and we are sure they would do well to consider diversifying their portfolio, like the ZCCM-IH has done.

Sticking to the old way of doing business will plunge some of them into further financial woes to the extent that they fail to meet their obligations to suppliers and workers.

Banks are usually available to offer capital for projects and we urge some of these companies to move in this direction. We are convinced the agricultural sector offers a better alternative for the survival of any enterprise.

There are also some new-comer enterprises on the market which are involved in a diversified range of economic activities and their balance sheet is showing positive results.

‘Zambia Mining Investment Forum successful’

GOVERNMENT has described the just ended Zambia Mining Investment Forum held in the UK which attracted over 100 mining firms, financiers and other stakeholders as a success.

Minister of Mines Christopher Yaluma said the country prepared adequately to host the forum by addressing a number of issues that had affected the mining sector.

“…unlike last year, where there were a lot of outstanding issues with the mines, which have since been resolved,” he said.

Mr Yaluma said Government has addressed the VAT refund issues with the mines and Zambia Revenue Authority has started disbursing payments to mining companies.

“Also, other inconsistencies in taxes and power deficit then were cited as issues, during the previous forum, but these and several matters have however been resolved and this is how Government wants things to be done,” he said.

He said Government will continue to dialogue with mining companies to ensure that policy decisions made do not negatively impact the industry, which is the mainstay of the country’s economy.

“We are enjoying a good relationship with the mines and we will continue to do so to ensure a win-win situation that will eventually benefit all,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Yaluma said there is need to diversify the mining sector away from the traditional copper.

He has explained that Zambia has several other minerals, which are least affected by global turbulence in prices which can help hedge the local mining sector against such unforeseen turbulences.

Mr Yaluma has noted that the gemstones sector is doing so well but needed to be developed further.

Source: Daily Mail

Global investment firm gives Zambia 5th position

ZAMBIA’s Ambassador to Sweden Anthony Mukwita says the country’s top five placement as a preferred destination of investment will increase interest from international investors seeking to develop investment opportunities.

Last week, Zambia was ranked the fifth most attractive investment destination in Africa due to significant domestic investment and access to money supply, according to a report by a global equity and investment firm.

In its latest Africa Investment Index report, Quantum’s Global Group, which is an international group of companies active in the areas of private equity and management investments, noted that Zambia follows Africa’s second largest economy, South Africa, which is fourth.

Commenting on the development, Mr Mukwita said the placement coming from an independent international rating organisation largely breaks the myth of negativity peddled by critics and re-affirms Zambia’s position internationally as a safe place to take money.

“The great thing about this ranking is that the favourable rating is coming from independent organisations and not Zambian organisations with a stake in the Zambian economy,” he said in a statement recently.

He, however, cited Sweden as one place where traffic and interest in Zambia has spiked upwards in recent months, especially since the re-election of President Lungu and his open pledge to fight graft.

Source: Daily Mail

April inflation rate remains stable

THE stability in the price movement of various consumer products has led to Zambia’s annual inflation rate for April to remain the same as recorded in March at 6.7 percent, Central Statistical Office (CSO) says.

CSO director of census and statistics John Kalumbi, however, said prices are increasing but at a slow rate, which shows the confidence in the economy.

Mr Kalumbi said at the monthly briefing yesterday that of the 6.7 percent, food and non-alcoholic beverages accounted for 3.3 percent while non-food items accounted for 3.4 percent.

“The year-on-year inflation rate as measured by the all items consumers price index for April 2017 remained the same as that was recorded in March 2017 at 6.7 percent. This means that on average, prices increased by 6.7 percent between April 2016 and April 2017,” he said.

He said the annual food inflation rate for April 2017 was recorded at 6.1 percent from 6.7 percent in March, representing a decrease of 0.6 percentage point.
He attributed the decrease to price changes for cereals such as maize grain, breakfast and roller mealie meal as well as vegetables and fruits.

Mr Kalumbi also said the annual non-food inflation rate for April 2017 was recorded at 7.5 percent from 6.6 percent in March, representing a marginal increase of 0.9 percentage point.

He said the increase is due to transport and price changes for the purchase of motor vehicles.

And a check on selected products indicate that the national average price of a 25 kilogramme bag of breakfast mealie meal decreased by 2.6 percent from K103.46 to K100.73 while roller mealie meal declined by 2.7 percent from K85.67 to K83.32.

Challenges in electricity sector to continue unless…

ZESCO Limited managing director Victor Mundende says the country will continue facing challenges in the electricity sector unless a cost-reflective structure is implemented.

In an interview last week after holding a series of meetings on the importance of migrating to the new tariffs in Luapula, Muchinga and Northern provinces, Mr Mundende said there is great opportunity for growth but low tariffs are hampering the development of the sector.

“Dynamics of the economy are changing, but the price for electricity has not changed. While adjusting the tariff, we are very mindful that a lot of people can’t afford.

“So we have a lifeline tariff which is 100 units per 15 ngwee. We have applied to adjust that from 100 to 300 units so that many people can access power at the same price,” he said.

He said Zesco is borrowing money to invest in infrastructure to develop interconnectors that will ease the trading of power in the region.

“We have also embarked on interconnectors from Zambia into Tanzania into Kenya. We are also looking at the Northern part into Congo DR, so we will be doing a line from Solwezi into Kolwezi. We are talking about these projects, now how do we achieve these expensive projects? These projects require appetite from the investors to come and invest. For us to create appetite, we need a correct tariff,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Energy David Mabumba says the country’s economic diversification agenda through industrialisation will be difficult to achieve if a correct tariff structure is not applied to attract investments and ensure security of reliable electricity supply.

Mr Mabumba said provision of electricity has the capacity to unlock the potential of rural areas.

“At Shiwang’andu, Zesco is generating one megawatt and this has helped increase business activities. For instance, Shiwa Safaris used to spend about US$8,000 per month before but now they are spending less than that since they now have reliable power,” he said.

Source: Daily Mail

SI on compulsory solar systems installation coming

GOVERNMENT is expected to sign a statutory instrument (SI) to compel shopping malls and housing units being constructed to install solar systems to cushion the power deficit.

Ministry of energy David Mabumba said the SI process will only come into effect upon Cabinet approval.
Mr Mabumba said recently that it is important for the country to change people’s mind-sets on the exploration of alternative sources of energy.

“We will not continue to depend on hydro power once the SI is in effect. All shopping malls and all houses that are going to be constructed in the country will no longer depend on Zesco entirely .When we went to Israel, each house had about three power supplies; gas, solar and hydro-power.

“This is the direction we need to start taking as a country but in Zambia when you talk about gas, the myth that surrounds it immediately is that it will burst,” he said.

He also called on companies to engage Government to put up mini- solar projects in their firms to reduce reliance on Zesco.

Mr Mabumba said Government is restructuring the energy sector to allow it to be competitive and unlock its potential.

He said some of the reforms aimed at restructuring the sector are the tariff adjustment cost of service study which will be concluded by the end of this year and general structuring of electricity sub-sector to make it efficient and address the issue of competition.

Source: Daily Mail

ZCCM-IH | Job Advertisement – Chief Investments Officer

ZCCM Investments Holdings Plc (ZCCM-IH) is an investments holding company which has a primary listing on the Lusaka Stock Exchange and secondary listings on the London and Euronext (Paris) Stock Exchanges. The Company has majority of its investments held in the copper mining and energy sectors of Zambia. ZCCM-IH’s majority shareholders are the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) with 60.3%, Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) with 17.3% shareholding. The National Pensions Scheme Authority (NAPSA) holds 15% shares while other individual and institutional shareholders numbering over 4,000 located in different parts of the world hold 7.4% shares.

The Company invites applications from suitably qualified and experienced individuals who are innovative, energetic and performance driven to fill the following vacancy in the Investments Directorate;

Chief Investments Officer – 1 position


For a detailed job description and specification for the position above please visit:

Application Procedure

Application letters together with certified copies of certificates and detailed curriculum vitae should reach the undersigned not later than 21st April 2017.

Human Resources Manager
ZCCM Investments Holdings Plc
ZCCM IH Office Park, Stand No 16806
Alick Nkhata Road, Mass Media Complex Area
P O Box 30048

Alternatively, applications should be sent to:

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Konkola Copper Mines Kicks Off Ambitious Bio Diesel Project

CHINGOLA, APRIL 4, 2017 – Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) today took a major step towards the coming to life of a bio-diesel project, which will be a first for a tailing storage facility in Zambia and for elite Pongamia Pinnata trees to be used in mine rehabilitation.

KCM teamed-up with the Minister of Works and Supply and Chingola MP Honourable Matthew Nkhuwa and other local leaders to plant 500 elite Pongamia trees on a four-hectare overburden site to bring to 2,000, trees planted all as part of the pilot programme to determine the viability of producing bio-diesel from the trees.

The project has the potential to create 500 direct jobs and 1,000 indirect jobs for the youths in agro-forestry, farming, bio-energy processing, and energy service delivery. The commercial project is targeted for 650 hectares of land with 400,000 trees to be planted at an estimated cost of US$7 million.

Mr Nkhuwa noted that, “the government is spending huge amounts of money to import fuel into the country every month. With projects such as this, the burden on the government will be lighter and resources will be channeled to other areas for holistic development.” He added that, “The government is creating an enabling environment for public private partnerships such as this one in order to foster development.”

KCM Chief Executive Officer Steven Din said during the event that the project attested to the company’s commitment to invest in clean energy as an integral part of the KCM vision for sustainable development. “The trees we have planted here will revegetate a disused dump site, suck-up impurities and fix back nitrogen to the soil, improving its fertility.

In addition to all this, employment will be created for the local people,’’ Mr Din noted. The company is working in partnership with Better World Energy on the project seeking to re-fertilise bare land which KCM currently cannot use for agriculture purposes.

In addition, the project will provide a cheap and environmental-friendly source of energy for KCM. Pongamia is an ideal plant for recovering a variety of waste burdens such as saline soil reclamation. It brings soils back to life as the nitrogen and carbon feed rich soil microbial communities enabling other plants to grow on previously dead soil. Virtually, every part of the Pongamia tree is useful, with the seeds producing biodiesel and seedcake from the trees used to make briquettes for cooking and cattle feed after removing toxins.

The slurry can be used as a fertilizer, and because the tree is repulsive to animals naturally, bio-pesticides can be made from it.