‘Legislative gaps stunting mining sector growth’
Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Correspondent—
The mining sector will not reach its full potential in contributing to the country’s economic revival as long as the 2017 National Budget does not introduce measures to drive growth in the sector, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, has said.
Officially opening a post-budget seminar in Harare on Monday, Advocate Mudenda said only after exploration and objective quantification of the vast mineral resources can Zimbabwe negotiate with potential investors from an informed position.
He called on Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa to facilitate urgent formulation of an Exploration Bill to address legislative deficiencies noted by the portfolio committee on Mines and Mining Development.
“Knowledge of our mineral wealth underground should facilitate the securitisation of our minerals on a back-to-back loan against a mineral concession or outright sale of some concessions on a pre-payment basis,” said Adv Mudenda.
“I did not hear the budget pontificating on the sale of raw chrome, whose reserves are abundant in and around Kwekwe, which when properly extracted and marketed can generate approximately $3 billion annually.
“Let me hasten to share with you the disappointment I felt when I learnt of a company which is being denied permission to export chrome fines whose proceeds were estimated at between $2 to $3 billion. Why should we cut our nose to spite our face?”
Advocate Mudenda said Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa should have set the tone for the urgent provision of a legal framework for the consolidation of diamond mining operations in the Marange area.
He said capacitating local industries through domestic resource mobilisation and home-grown remedies was critical to reach a $10 billion national budget.
Treasury, he said, did not take into consideration some proposals made by Members of Parliament during the formulation of the 2017 National Budget.
“Despite our proposals, the Budget did not adequately address policy measures and strategies to empower small scale miners,” said Adv Mudenda. “The budget did not avail adequate resources to Fidelity Printers to capacitate small-scale gold producers as we had proposed.
“As we deliberate, let us look into the possibility of delaying the $1,8 billion debt repayment so that we can first support the small-scale miners who delivered no less than 42 percent of gold to Fidelity Printers last year.
“My calculation informs me that capacitating artisanal miners to the tune of $1 billion would raise no less than $3 billion for the fiscus. That is domestic resource mobilisation. How about mopping funds from Pensions and Insurance Portfolios such as NSSA and Old Mutual?”
Adv Mudenda urged Parliament to critically look at the projected economic growth rates, taking into cognisance targets in the country’s economic blueprint, Zim-Asset.
Advocate Mudenda called on all the parliamentary portfolio committees to ensure that line ministries timely submit quarterly reports of their scrutiny to monitor and oversee expenditure by the State organs, commissions, institutions and agencies of Government, as this was provided for in terms of Section 299(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.