Union starts savings, credit scheme

By MAILESI BANDA

THE Civil Servants and Allied Workers of Zambia (CSAWZ) has launched a Savings and Credit Cooperative Society (SACCOS) aimed at wealth creation and the promotion of saving among civil servants.

And SACCOS anticipates to register a membership of close to 40, 000 people in the next two years with an estimated monthly turnover of K8million.

CSAWZ-SACCOS chairperson Agness Ndilla said by becoming a member of the SACCOS, civil servants would be securing their financial destiny.

Speaking during the launch of the SACCOS in Lusaka yesterday she said the savings would provide a platform for the accumulation of savings and the provision of loans to the membership.

Ms.Ndila explained that the membership would now enjoy stress free loans.

“The SACCOS anticipates registering a membership of close to 40,000 by the end of the 2nd year of operation, with an estimated turnover of 8million every month. These results are achievable by any standard seeing the amount of ground work we have done”, she said.

And the Minister of Commerce Trade and Industry Margaret Mwanakatwe urged  CSWAZ to develop a sound corporate governance policy framework that would clearly stipulated the roles to be taken by the various stakeholders.

“It is important to enhance professionalism in this SACCO by adhering to cooperate ethical standards including honesty, openness, and social responsibility and caring for others, “she said.

The minister said this could only be achieved through properly formulated leadership and management capacities.

Ms Mwanakatwe noted that Zambia had a poor saving culture   adding that what CSWAZ had done was aimed at promoting savings among civil servants which would then promote investments among the civil servants.

She said the savings facility would help in the capturing of the un banked community.

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Zambia still a safe haven – Tourism minister

By BUUMBA CHIMBULU

GOVERNMENT has reassured stakeholders in the tourism sector of continued sound investments and normal operations following Parliament’s approval of the Article 31.

Article 31, approved by Parliament on Tuesday is meant to tighten security in Zambia while trying to protect people’s lives.

Minister of Tourism, Charles Banda, emphasised that normal operations in the sector would continue as they would not in any way be affected by the declaration.

“As a ministry in charge of tourism, arts and culture, we want to ensure that our tour operators, tourism enterprises, international and domestic tourists operate in a conducive environment by safeguarding their lives and that of their clients,

“We believe tourism is the bedrock of our economy and therefore it should be given an opportunity to thrive by avoiding occurrences such as the burning of the Lusaka City Market,” he said.

Mr Banda told the media in Lusaka yesterday that Article 31 was done to invoke the provisions of CAP 112 under Article 31, a preservation of public security Act to ensure there was peace and tranquillity in Zambia.

He emphasised that no investor would invest in the sector if there was no peace.

“As you may know, where there is no peace, there is no tourism. I wold also like to assure our international tourists that it is safe to come to Zambia and that Zambia is still a peaceful nation that will maintain this peace at all costs,” he said.

Mr Banda also said the sector had not recorded any reduction in both international and domestic tourists in Zambia since the pronouncement was made.

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New cotton seed cheers farmers

By MAILESI BANDA

THE Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company’s (Mahyco) hybrid cotton seed has increased production among cotton farmers that took part in the demo for the seed which is the first in Zambia.

The company in the 2016/2017 farming season distributed six tonnes of hybrid seed to 3000 small holder farmers in the Eastern, Southern and Central provinces.

Mr Yona Ngoma, a farmer in Chipata described the seed as high yielding, adding that it produced more balls than the traditional variety Chureza.

“I planted Mahyco C-571 for the second year along with the traditional variety Chureza and from the hybrid I harvested 2,200kg per hectare from the hybrid against the 450kg from the Chureza, and I did not use fertilizer,” he said.

Mr John Manchishi of Mumbwa in the Central Province said the hybrid seed was a good performer.

“Mahyco cotton hybrid C-567 has been an excellent performer in my field. I had some plants with 55 balls and I managed to get 2000kg per hectare against the 400kg from the traditional variety and the balls are actually big when I only used 4kgs per hectare,” he said.

And Cotton Board of Zambia executive director Dafulin Kaonga said the introduction of the hybrid cotton seed would increase production of the crop in the country.

He explained that compared to the open pollinated seed that the country had been growing in the past years, the seed from Mahyco was a boost to the sector. According to the farmers, the hybrid cotton seed produces more balls per plant compared to the traditional seed and it was observed during the demo’s that the sizes of the balls were bigger than that of the traditional variety as it weighed as much as 5-6gm compared to 3-3.5gm for the traditional variety. It was also discovered that the hybrid varieties had a shorter duration and that led to significant yield advantage even with planting and stress conditions.

Another notable advantage of the hybrid variety was that due to the hairy leaves the crop had a relatively higher tolerance towards sucking pests and that this led to an ultimately better and healthier crop.

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Superior Milling empowers rice farmers

By BUUMBA CHIMBULU

AN initiative meant to empower smallscale farmers with a sustained national market for their rice throughout the year has been launched by Superior Milling in Western Province.

The initiative, duped Mongu Rice, is also meant to empower rice millers in the province while aiming at empowering local millers to participate in the project.

Superior Milling managing director Peter Cottan said at the launch in Western Province yesterday that the project was a demonstration of the company’s belief of value addition with jobs secured through all the value chain process.

Mr. Cottan said the investment was also meant to make the Mealile branded Mongu rice into a more recognisable brand.

“The rice farmers in Western Province can only grow through such programmes because they will be motivated to increase their yields,” he said.

He also commended Government for creating an enabling environment for business to thrive in Mongu, allowing companies like Superior Milling to set up and help grow the local agricultural sector.

“As I end my address, I would like to urge the government to continue on the path of promoting value addition and it should be put on record that Superior Milling is behind this policy 100 percent,” he said.

And Western Province Minister, Nathaniel Mubukwanu, urged farmers in the province to take the project as a positive indication that rice from the area was key to agriculture.

Mr. Mubukwanu also urged farmers to increase yields in diversifying the agriculture activities and help make Mongu food secure with the surplus being sold to create wealth.

He was speaking in speech read on his behalf by his permanent secretary, Liomba Mwangala. “Let me assure Superior Milling that Government will support you on this project because we know that this project will help farmers with a ready market for their rice.

“As Government, these are the kind of projects we encourage companies to embark on because they are progressive and support our policy of value addition and import substitution,” he said. At the same event, the Ng’ambela Nyambe Mwenda, Barotse Royal Establishment in Lealui, Limulunga, said the project would benefit farmers as it would encourage them to work hard.

“We the people of Western Province and Mongu in particular are proud of our heritage and rice is part of that heritage. This is why the growing of rice is one of the main economic activities here,” he said.

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ZRA rakes in K384m from tax amnesty

By BUUMBA CHIMBULU

THE Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has realised K384 million from the on-going Amnesty initiative on interest and penalties launched on 24th April 2017 and ending on July 31st.

ZRA has explained that it has so far collected 267,707 in applications for the initiative as at 30th June 2017.

ZRA corporate communications manager, Topsy Sikalinda, explained in a statement that delinquent taxpayers had an opportunity to start afresh and be compliant with the tax authority by applying for the tax amnesty.

Mr Sikalinda said the exceptional programme was aimed at helping delinquent taxpayers put their liabilities behind.

“The amnesty initiative gives individuals and businesses the opportunity to have 100 percent interests and penalties waived off by simply paying the principal taxes,

“It is very important to reminisce that back taxes do not go away and that burden will continue to follow you and grow as long as you do not comply. Monday 31st July 2017 is the final opportunity for delinquent taxpayers to settle their tax debt and take advantage of tax amnesty which started on 24th April 2017,” he said.

Mr Sikalinda also said  ZRA was aware that the liquidity of most taxpayers was not very good and that those who were unable to settle the principal taxes immediately had an opportunity to enter into time-to-pay agreements (TPA) and spread the payments up to December 2017.

He also announced that ZRA would conduct a National Tax Amnesty Week from 17th to 21st July, 2017 in 12 different towns to ensure that more people were helped.

Mr Sikalinda said the 12 towns were Chingola, Chinsali, Chipata, Choma, Kabwe, Kasama, Kitwe, Livingstone, Lusaka, Mongu, Ndola and Solwezi.

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