Zambia President Michael Sata says his government has no plans of nationalising state controlled companies in remarks aimed at calming jittery investors.
Foreign investors who were clearly rattled by the government’s move in January to repossess the 75 per cent Zamtel stake sold to a Libyan firm in June 2010 for $257 million.
The Zamtel reversal was in keeping with a campaign pledge by President Sata to reverse controversial deals done by the administration of his predecessor, Rupiah Banda.
Upon ascending to power in September, President Sata’s government instituted numerous inquiries into the sale of parastatals most of which had their transactions recommended for reversal.
The Zambian government has also been investigating the 2007 sale of a 49 per cent stake in state-owned Zanaco Bank to Netherlands lender Rabobank, in another case that could see a reversal of a deal involving foreigners.
The results of the inquiry remain unknown.
President Sata said his government’s move was aimed at “correcting wrongs committed” by the previous regime.
“…and don’t be mislead that Zambia is going back to nationalisation ,we are not nationalising anything, but anything which was privatised with corruption like Zamtel, we will move in,” President Sata said Friday at State House when he received credentials from new Vatican Ambassador Apostolic Nuncio Julio Murat, Tanzanian High Commissioner designate Grace Mujuma and Italian Ambassador Pier Mario Dacco.
“Anything which was privatised with corruption like ZANACO we move in, but that’s not nationalisation we are going to float those [shares] publicly.”
And new Tanzanian High Commissioner Grace Mujuma told President Sata that there need for renewed political direction and urgency in addressing issues at the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA).
“We are aware that TAZARA is going through a turbulent period affecting heavily its operations with great repercussions to the economies of our countries,” High Commissioner Mujuma said.
“The current situation calls for addressing the issues with great urgency and perhaps Your Excellence[President Sata] be taken up by the top leadership of our two countries for a renewed political direction.”