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KCM may leave Zambia as president vows to dissolve copper giant

KCM is in a deepening dispute with foreign mining companies over tax and employment

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KCM may leave Zambia as president vows to dissolve copper giant
Zambian President Edgar Lungu. Minasse Wondimu Hailu / AFP

Zambian President, Edgar Lungu on Tuesday pledged to dissolve KCM, the country’s largest copper producer, in a deepening dispute with foreign mining companies over tax and employment.

KCM is owned by London-based Vedanta Resources, with the state-owned ZCCM-IH as a minority shareholder.

Lungu has targeted the mining sector to generate tax revenue as Zambia struggles with growing debt, and has told international mining companies to leave the copper-rich country if they opposed the new tax regime.R

Also Read: Vedanta to challenge Zambia KCM’s provisional liquidator appointment

“We are resolved and determined on the KCM liquidation process because all people in the Copperbelt (mining region) want Vedanta to go,” Lungu said in a speech broadcast on state radio.

“This is not my decision alone but the people, and I will not abandon you on KCM,” he told supporters in Ndola.

A court hearing in Lusaka into the appointment of a provisional liquidator to run KCM, which employs 13,000 people, was adjourned for a week on Tuesday.

“Vedanta (has) reiterated its commitment to Zambia, and to the development and sustainability of Konkola Copper Mines,” Vedanta said in a statement last week.

The company said the government had made “unfounded allegations” over alleged unpaid taxes and that its business was unprofitable due to rising tax and electricity bills.

Companies have warned that the proposals could trigger a mass withdrawal of investment and thousands of redundancies.

“KCM is a single largest employer in the country and the impact of this liquidation could be devastating,” said independent business analyst, Maambo Hamaundu.

“A few weeks ago we were given pronouncements by government officials that the mine was working properly but suddenly it’s being liquidated. Foreign investors are apprehensive.”

Also Read: Vedanta to explore dialogue with Zambia over mine liquidation

Zambia is Africa’s second-biggest copper producing country after the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Vedanta, owned by Indian billionaire, Anil Agarwal, is seeking international arbitration to resolve the dispute, with some analysts saying the company could be replaced by a Chinese firm.

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South Africa’s Foschini to halt Kenya, Ghana operations

South African retailers have recorded poor performance in the last year, due to slow economic growth and currency devaluations

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South Africa's Foschini to halt Kenya, Ghana operations
(File photo)

South African fashion retailer, the Foschini Group is considering shutting down its Kenya and Ghana businesses.

The firm’s Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Thunstrom, affirms that at least, six stores will be affected in both countries.

South African retailers have recorded poor performance in the last year, due to slow economic growth and currency devaluations that had hit sales.

In July, department store chain, Woolworths pulled out from West Africa for a second time.

The Foschini Group will review economic growth, legislature and lease negotiations in Kenya and Ghana before making its decision.

Come September, in its home market, Thunstrom says The Foschini Group will launch a smaller format Sportscene store that will enjoy entertainment features such as a basketball court and a DJ booth, in an effort to lure millennials into its stores and away from online players such as Naspers’ majority-owned Superbalist.

The store will be launched in September in Johannesburg’s upscale Sandton shopping and financial district.

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Total Mozambique gas project will go on despite insurgency

Total will also acquire US energy giant Anadarko’s assets in Algeria, Ghana, Mozambique and South Africa

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Energy major Total on Friday said it remained committed to a Mozambique liquefied natural gas project on the country’s northern coast despite deadly Islamist insurgent attacks.

Total will become the operator of the $25 billion Rovuma LNG Project whose construction began on August 5 in the Afungi Peninsula.

The company is also set to acquire US energy giant Anadarko’s assets in Algeria, Ghana, Mozambique and South Africa, strengthening Total’s position in Africa.

But the area where the project is located has been targeted by jihadists since October 2017, claiming more than 300 lives.

Attackers in February launched an assault on a convoy of vehicles from an Anadarko contractor, killing one worker and injuring others. 

This led to the suspension of operations for a few months, with activities only resuming after the government announced the deployment of armed forces.

Several hundred suspected attackers have been arrested, according to authorities, but sporadic assaults continue.

On Friday Total’s CEO Patrick Pouyanne reaffirmed Total’s commitment to the LNG project saying it “is a unique asset which perfectly fits our strategy and our skills.

“Please be assured of the commitment of Total to bring the best of our human, technical and financial capacities to further strengthen the project execution … in the interests of all those involved, including the government and people of Mozambique,” he said in a statement.

The project is expected to be transformational for Mozambique, creating an estimated 5,000 direct jobs and 45,000 indirect jobs.

The country’s gas deposits are estimated at 5,000 billion cubic metres and would make Mozambique a major exporter of liquefied natural gas.

The use of natural gas is on the rise globally as countries struggle to meet energy demands and shift away from using coal.

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Kenya plans to tax OTT services like Youtube, Netflix

The over-the-top services (OTT) will soon be required to declare the incomes they derive from Kenyan consumers

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Kenya plans to tax OTT services like Youtube, Netflix

Kenya’s Information Communication and Technology (ICT) ministry is working on completing a new tax scheme.

This framework, reports say, will be used to tax foreign online streaming media services such as YouTube and Netflix.

The over-the-top services (OTT) will soon be required to declare the incomes they derive from Kenyan consumers.

OTT services include all applications that offer voice, video and messaging services over the internet.

Communications Authority Director-General, Francis Wangusi says online content providers exploit the Kenyan industry. Yet, neither the government nor artistes benefit from them.

According to Wangusi, “many countries have policies that guide these services and that is where we are heading as a country”.

He adds that technologies that will facilitate taxation of OTT services are available.

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