Zambia said hidden ownership of mining operations was the breeding ground for illicit financial flows which must quickly be addressed. Photo: Supplied

INTERNATIONAL – The Zambian government is working to identify real owners of mining firms operating in the country, according to the state-run news agency Zambia News and Information Service.

Chipilauka Mukofu, acting permanent secretary of the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development, said hidden ownership of mining operations was the breeding ground for illicit financial flows which must quickly be addressed.

Hidden ownership has been a challenge as it undermines effective mobilization of domestic revenues from natural resources due to corruption and illicit financial flows, he said.

Identifying beneficial owners of mines will attract credible investors to the sector and enhance transparent and accountable utilization of proceeds from extractive industries, he added.

He urged stakeholders to partner with the government in the implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global standard to promote the open and accountable management of oil, gas and mineral resources.

He noted that Zambia's membership to EITI requires the government to compile with the international requirement of disclosing beneficial owners of mining operations by January 2020 deadline.

The Zambian government maintained that it has no plans of nationalizing the mines.

Minister of Mines and Minerals Development Richard Musukwa said the government will instead continue promoting a private sector led mining industry that was anchored on the rule of law.

Speaking when Finnish Ambassador to Zambia Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury paid a courtesy call on him, the Zambian minister said the government has put high premium on safety and wants to partner with Finnish firms that are interested in investing in the mining sector, according to a release.

XINHUA