The Sunday News
ZIMBABWE has more than 66 minerals that can be fully utilised for economic growth, debt servicing and employment creation, an official has said.
Zimbabwe Coalition of Debt and Development (Zimcodd) programmes officer Mrs Nomalanga Ncube said it was ironic that Zimbabwe was facing liquidity challenges and owed multilateral institutions about $10 billion yet it was sitting on huge mineral deposits that could be fully utilised to benefit the country.
Zimcodd is a social and economic justice organisation dedicated to facilitating citizens’ involvement, through their sectors in making public policy.
“Zimbabwe is estimated to have over 66 minerals and 40 currently being exploited which include, Platinum, Gold, Diamonds, Chrome, Gold, Coal etc. Africa Mining Intelligence Report (2013) ranks Zimbabwe fourth in terms of diamond production and having the second largest platinum reserves in the world. Therefore, Zimbabwe is richly endowed with mineral resources which if fully utilised can bring the much needed money to oil the economy,” said Mrs Ncube while addressing journalists last week in Bulawayo.
She said the country should not rely on foreign financial aid as it comes with stringent conditions.
“We should do domestic resource mobilisation because it is more sustainable and predictable than foreign aid that comes with pre-conditions and perpetuate Zimbabwe’s indebtedness,” said Mrs Ncube.
She said it was critical to practice good governance in the mining sector.
Mrs Ncube said revenues generated from mineral resources required effective management.
She said minerals and other resources belonged to the people and must benefit the whole nation.
“The Government should administer mineral resources on behalf of the majority and not a few individuals. Citizens have a right to know how much their Government is selling the resources for, how much they are getting from their exploitation and how the generated resources are used,” she said.
She said companies in the mining sector should pay tax to ensure that their exploitation benefit all people.
“Taxation is a way of redistributing wealth in order to address poverty and inequalities. Through progressive taxation system, the rich can pay more thus cushioning the poor,” said the Zimcodd official.
She said Government should also put measures to ensure that there were no tax leakages.
“Tax leakages occur through a variety of channels in Zimbabwe and the world over. These include debt servicing, corruption, illicit outflows, tax incentives, informal economies and external forces.
These involve financial resources that are illegally earned, illegally transferred or illegally utilised,” said Mrs Ncube.
“It is estimated that cumulatively, Africa lost $865 billion between 1970 and 2008 through illicit outflows and the figure could be more than that. African annual losses are estimated at $30 billion by the Global Financial Integrity while the African Union puts it at $148 billion. It is difficult to measure the losses as the transactions bypass official statistical recordings.”
“The transactions include underpricing, overpricing, under-invoicing and making completely fake transactions, often between subsidiaries of the same multinational companies. The people’s taxes have also been used to service the country’s external debt at the expense of the vital social services like health, education and others.”
Zimbabwe Environment Law Association economic governance officer Mr Mukasiri Sibanda also echoed the same sentiments and said there was a need to carry out a geological survey to determine the value of minerals in the country.
“There is no geological information to show the value of the minerals the country has. We pride ourselves as a mineral rich country but do we know how to have an estimate of our mineral potential as a country? This is where our challenge comes from,” said Mr Mukasiri.
He said the Government and the private sector should team up and carry out the geological surveys to help Government.