LUSAKA (Reuters) – Zambia has fired Pius Kasolo, the chief executive of state mining investment arm Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holding (ZCCM-IH), Mines Minister Richard Musukwa said on Friday, without giving a reason.
On Monday, Kasolo said the government should quickly resolve its tax row with mining companies to avoid hitting operations and ZCCM-IH dividends.
Zambia, Africa’s No.2 copper producer, increased its sliding scale for royalties of 4 to 6 percent by 1.5 percentage points from Jan. 1 and introduced a new 10 percent tax when the price of copper exceeds $7,500 per tonne.
Musukwa said on Friday the new tax measures were not meant to stifle mining operations and would not adversely affect the operations of ZCCM-IH.
“I am advised by the board of ZCCM-IH that the CEO Dr Pius Kasolo has been relieved of his duties,” Musukwa said at a joint briefing alongside presidential spokesman Amos Chanda.
ZCCM-IH spokeswoman Louisa Mbata-Kakoma told Reuters the company was preparing a statement on Kasolo’s dismissal.
Zambia also plans to replace value-added tax with a sales tax by April to help bring down mounting public debt.
Mining companies said last month they may lay off more than 21,000 workers due to reduced capital expenditure over the next three years as a result of the new tax measures.
Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by James Macharia and David Evans