Govt unveils mining stimulus package
Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
Government has proposed a mining sector stimulus package that is meant to promote production and accelerate inclusive participation towards the attainment of a US$12 billion mining sector industry by 2023. The proposal was made by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube when he presented the 2020 National Budget statement in Parliament yesterday.
The move is a response to representations by stakeholders who had called upon Government to consider a funding framework along the ones meant for the agriculture sector as a means to capacitate small-scale players, particularly those not in the gold sector, to optimise production.
Supporting small-scale players
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development chair Edmond Mkaratigwa, had previously told The Herald Finance and Business that Government needed to follow up on the US$12 billion milestone by supporting small-scale players in order to achieve inclusive growth.
In his statement yesterday, Minister Ncube said a fund will be set aside to capacitate the State’s exclusive agent for marketing and selling of all minerals produced in Zimbabwe except silver and gold — the Minerals and Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ).
“Mr Speaker Sir, realisation of the US$12 billion mining industry target by 2023 will be advanced through the 2020 Budget,” said Minister Ncube.
“The sector is projected to rebound to 4,7 percent on account of the expected improvements in the availability of electricity.
“Furthermore, in 2020, the fiscal regime for the mining sector will be fine-tuned and improved, while the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development will be resourced to enhance exploration which is critical for expansion in the sector.
Funding for non-gold sector
“Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe will be supported through a credit guarantee scheme to provide funding and support to the non-gold sector.
“Accordingly, I am allocating $293,2 million to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development for its capacitation in terms of planning, promotion of exploration, data capturing and automation, among others,” he said.
The minister also noted that Government was aware of the challenges related to ring-fencing arrangements, foreign currency retentions and gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and said serious attention will be paid to these.
He also said Government is looking forward to a mineral production boost on the back of investment agreements in platinum, gold and chrome among others having been concluded.
There will also be attention to leakages, particularly in gold, which are on the rise and continue to deprive the country of foreign currency earnings.