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Zambia revokes mining chief's work permit

12 November 2013, 11:31

Lusaka - Zambia has revoked the work permit of the chief executive of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), after the firm ignored the government's order not to cut jobs, an official said on Monday.

"I can confirm that Kishore Kumar's work permit has been revoked and he can't be allowed to work in Zambia," said government spokesperson Mwansa Kapeya.

He said a decision to terminate the executive's permit was taken on Sunday.

Konkola Copper Mines is the subsidiary of Vedanta Resources of India.

Last week, President Michael Sata threatened to withdraw the firm's licence if laid off hundreds of workers.

The company instead sacked 76 employees.

Rights activist Brebner Changala criticised the permit withdrawal, warning too that it might scare off foreign investment.

"Apart from this matter being a human rights violation, it will certainly scare away investors," said Changala. "This country needs foreign investors."

Last month, the government also threatened to revoke the licence for Shoprite, after it revealed plans to fire to fire 3 000 workers.

Several foreign nationals who operate companies in Zambia have been deported by Sata's administration, in a move seen as anti-business.

"These decisions that the companies make are not political and the government will do well to quickly realise this fact," said Changala.

Sata's government, faced with a weak kwacha currency, has been battling to reduce the 60% unemployment rate.

The International Monetary Fund estimated that Zambia will reach six percent GDP growth this year, down from 7.0% seen last year.



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