EDITORIAL COMMENT: Let Zimbabwe be seen to be open for business
Zimbabwe played host to a historic Zimbabwe Mining Investment Conference 2018 in Harare this week, which attracted top international mining executives and investors from across the globe.
The conference was organised by Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe and Mining Report.
Speakers conceded Zimbabwe is resource rich, but needs to address some of its laws to ensure mining ventures are profitable to both local and foreign investors.
The conference comes as Zimbabwe’s mining sector is targeting to earn over $2 billion in minerals exports, excluding gold in 2018, up from $1,7 billion that was realised in 2017 as revealed by the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe(MMCZ).
As curtains come down on the mining conference and as the over 300 delegates leave for their respective bases today, Zimbabweans that have been yearning for investment for years in many sectors, are wondering what will accrue from the indaba.
President Mnangagwa has declared Zimbabwe is open for investment and the economic fortunes of the country will be anchored on a thriving agriculture sector and mining.
For that reason, Zimbabwe is likely to host many such investment conferences and it is our hope Government will ensure follow-up meetings for these meetings to achieve benefits for Zimbabwe.
It is intriguing as Government receives some investors, it admits statutory charges levied on players in the mining sector are exorbitant and there is a greater need to address the anomaly so that Zimbabwe can be seen to be truly open for business.
These statutory changes, we believe, should be wholesome and cover other areas of the economy that also have a bearing not only on mining, but the entire economy.
It is our sincere hope Central Government will also see the need for the creation of value for money by lowering the cost of doing business through a review of high taxes, high charges, and streamlining duplicated and disproportionate regulations that govern the operations of all economic sectors.
On completion of doing business reforms, small and medium enterprise miners are expected to benefit and continue contributing to the sector in the near future.
Small-scale miners, particularly in the gold sector, outperformed large-scale miners last year, after contributing 53 percent to the 24,8 tonnes of gold mined last year.
But the mining sector, among other sectors, cannot perform without enabling legislation that empowers both local and foreign investors.
In terms of legislative reforms, six Bills have been enacted into law, which are the Banking Act Amendment No. 12/ 2015; the Deeds Registry Amendment Bill; the Judicial Laws Ease of Settling Commercial Disputes Bill; the Movable Property Security Interests Bill, Public Procurement and Disposable of Public Assets Bill.
A number of other legal instruments are being reviewed such as the Insolvency Amendment Bill and the Estates Administrators Amendment Act.
The draft of the Regional Town and Country Planning Bill is being finalised by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.
In addition to the main pieces of legislation, Government is also reviewing over 22 Statutory Instruments from various ministries, departments and agencies to make them “palatable and friendly to investment by removing some of the operational bottlenecks.”
It is, therefore, our sincere hope that as Government continues to attract investors, measures are put in place to protect national interests.