Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mkhondo Lungu says natural resource endowments of the African region have not translated into tangible benefits for most of its people.
Speaking during the official opening of the joint conference for the Southern Africa Development Community Organization of Public Accounts Committee (SADCOPAC) and Eastern African Association of Public Accounts Committee (EAAPAC) in Lusaka on May 12th, Mr Lungu says natural resources belong to the people who have legitimate expectations that the exploitation of such resources will result in their improved livelihoods.
Mr Lungu notes that citizens have a right not only to be involved through their elected representatives in how these resources are exploited but also to benefit from such exploitation.
He adds that it therefore an unacceptable paradox that even at times when international commodity prices have been at an all time high, African countries in the SADC region have continued to be characterized by high poverty levels in spite of being endowed with abundant natural resources.
Mr Lungu states that while the extractive industries have been attracting significant levels of international capital inflows, there has not been a corresponding increase in the national revenues.
He further points out that while the mining sector is the largest single economic activity in Zambia and has enjoyed increasingly higher earnings on account of soaring international metal prices, its contribution to tax revenue has been low.
And Public Accounts Committee Chairperson Vincent Mwale says countries rich in natural resources should provide an essential source of financing for development.
Mr Mwale states that because of the multi disciplinary nature of the sector, parliaments should have a coordinated approach in their participation in the extractive industry.