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Democratic Republic of Congo said it would open talks on Friday with mining companies about implementing some of the most contentious provisions in a new mining code that hikes taxes and royalties in the face of objections from industry.
President Joseph Kabila signed the new code earlier this month, replacing the previous 2002 law. Foreign investors in Congo, which include Glencore, Randgold, China Molybdenum and Ivanhoe, said it would scare off investment and violate existing agreements.
In a meeting before he signed the code, Kabila assured the companies their concerns would be discussed in follow-up talks to draft regulations for the sector.
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Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu told reporters on Wednesday that the talks with major companies present in Congo, which is Africa’s top copper producer and mines more than half the world’s cobalt, would begin on Friday at 0900 GMT.
According to a work plan Kabwelulu sent to the companies, the negotiations will be divided into six “pillars” running from March 16 to April 24, with a preliminary draft of the regulations to be completed by May 2. Government officials have already begun work on pillar 1.
The regulations must be adopted by the government within 90 days of the code’s signing, precisely on June 7.
The work plan sets aside 25 days, from March 27 to April 24, for discussions on the fiscal and customs regimes, including the new code’s so-called stability clause, which is the most contentious point between the government and industry.
Miners enjoyed a 10-year protection under the former code’s stability clause against changes to the fiscal and customs regime but those were annulled by the new law, which says that its provisions enter into effect immediately.
The companies still hope the government will honor the 10-year exemptions but Congolese officials have said no compromises reached in the talks can contradict provisions in the code.
The work plan refers only to “the guarantee of stability of the revised mining code (five years for new mining rights)” and not to protection for mining titles that existed under the previous code.
It also calls for discussions about royalty increases, which would raise payments up to five-fold on metals designated “strategic substances” by the government.
The office of Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala appeared to preempt those discussions last week by saying cobalt, whose price has more than tripled in the past two years due to rising demand for electric vehicles, would be declared a strategic substance and that copper could be as well.
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Salah withdraws from Egypt Squad
Egypt Football Federation has leave out Mohammed Salah on the upcoming AFCON qualifiers match with Kenya due to injury worries.
Egypt were grouped with kenya, Togo, Comoros in Group G, football fans has tipped Egypt to top the group due to their attacking threat.
The Egyptian talisman has now been ruled out of the upcoming AFCON qualifiers after due assessment by Egypt’s medical team.
The physios believe the Liverpool star’s injury, which was sustained from a challenge by Leicester City’s Hamza Choudhury earlier last month, has been aggravated during the clash against Manchester City and needed time to heal.
The Egyptian frontman will miss the two matches scheduled this week.
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Groups criticise Kenya’s census figures
Groups has criticised the released Kenya’s population census figures stating that the results are not accurate.
It found that the total population of the country is now 47.6 million, nine million more than in 2009.
But some regions have experienced a decrease in population.
These outcomes can be hugely controversial because the size of the local population has important implications for the level of government funding they receive.
Kenya’s population is made up of many different ethnic groups, closely aligned to competing political parties.
The government has yet to release all the data on the ethnic composition of the country, but the changes in population in certain regions from this latest census have already caused arguments.
The outcome of such surveys can embolden or weaken claims made by groups for political representation or resources.
In one area of the north-east territories bordering Ethiopia and Somalia, the census indicates a decrease in the population, prompting local political leaders looking to retain funding for their provinces to question the veracity of the survey
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