His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio last Wednesday urged a meeting of leading mining investors, the chairperson of the parliamentary committee on minerals and energy, investment bankers, some finance and stock exchange experts to lead on the intra-African trade and investments front.
“You are still not looking beyond South Africa. You are way ahead in terms of a lot of things, irrespective of the challenges. You only have to go beyond the boundaries to know that you have a whole lot to offer the rest of the continent. I see many things that are manufactured here, but we go out of the content to China and Europe to buy. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is looming and we must preposition ourselves as a continent.
“So, when we talk about a paradigm shift, it means we must not place restrictions on ourselves. Again technology should help us catch up with the rest of the world. After our meeting the other day, I realised that there is so much wealth, in terms of money and knowledge here but we are not talking,” he stated.
President Bio said that South Africa should take leadership and help others to realise that we own our continent and we should also be in charge of these resources, not just as workers. He added that they were way ahead of countries like Sierra Leone, which was now looking forward to learning from them whether at an informal or formal level.
African National Congress Member of Parliament and Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources, Mr Sahlulele Luzipo, accepted the challenge and assured the President that they were open to exchange of ideas, especially regarding how they were indigenising the mining sector while taking further steps to combat financial leakages that eroded tax base, profit shifting and illicit money flows.
He said as the government was preparing to review the country’s Mines and Minerals Act of 2009, they were willing and ready to share experiences on how the law could support ownership models, close tax evasion loopholes such as transfer pricing, transparency and sharing of information.
According to Section 26 (2) of South Africa’s Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act: “If the Minister, acting on the advice of the Board and after consultation with the Minister of Trade and Industry, finds that a particular mineral can be beneficiated economically in the Republic, the Minister may promote such beneficiation subject to such terms and conditions as the Minister may determine”.
President of the National Union of Mine Workers, Joseph Montisetse, told the President that although they might clash with government sometimes, they had always supported many mining community-specific development projects that had complemented the national vision of government.
“We have helped the government to establish rules for trading in minerals wealth. We have built colleges, mining companies and trained our membership because we believe that trade unions must plough back into the country. With minerals in Sierra Leone, we are hopeful that you will take your people out of the setbacks of the past. We want to meet our counterparts there and share ideas through exchange programmes,” he said.
State House Media Unit