Thursday, 29 April 2010

Press Statement From ULP On SECTOR CODES

The United Liberal Party (ULP) is pleased that government has started the process of introducing sector codes in various areas of the economy. However we would like to appeal to the government to take deliberate steps that will ensure that the sector codes benefits especially ordinary Zambians who are capable but have no economic resources.

The ULP also has several concerns regarding the route which the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) is using to implement the sector codes. The United Liberal Party (ULP) feels that the process of developing sector codes should not be left in the hands of companies alone.

The recent history in labour relations between workers and owners of most companies clearly indicate that they cannot be trusted to come up with codes that will benefit ordinary Zambians. There is need for government to provide the lead in developing the sector codes in collaboration with the private sector.

On July, 29, 2009 the ULP presented a motion in Parliament that was urging government to urgently develop and gazette citizens’ economic empowerment sector codes for the benefit of ordinary Zambians. The ULP proposed priority areas in which government should gazette the sector codes as mining, agriculture, tourism, infrastructure development, education, health and financial services.

Instead of giving companies a blank check on sector codes government should provide a guide such as sector codes meaning levels of involvement with which we want ordinary and poor Zambians to participate in the main stream economic activities of this country through ownership of a meaningful percentage of shares.

This should include companies that are already involved in the priority areas of this economy and the foreign companies that wish to invest in areas such as mining and infrastructure development. This will help us ensure that empowerment programmes truly benefit the ordinary indigenous Zambians.

For an example government should ensure those foreign companies that are currently involved in road rehabilitation and other infrastructure development works surrender not less than 35% of their controlling shares to indigenous Zambians who will be identified under the citizens’ economic empowerment programme.

Sector coding in the mining industry should include employee share ownership where companies could give up a percentage of their controlling shares and issue at least 1.5% share capital at current market value to workers. This will help to improve the welfare of workers and encourage high productivity in vital sectors of the economy.

The poor people of this country do not have the luxury of time to wait for six months for companies to develop their own codes which might not be beneficial to the ordinary citizens. We feel that three months would be adequate for government and the private sector to work together on the development of sector codes. This is more especially since the legislation was passed four years ago.

Sakwiba Sikota SC
United Liberal Party (ULP)
April 29, 2010

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