The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association and it’s partner the Centre
for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) have called on the government to adopt the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) as a measure to improve transparency and accountability in the mining sector.
According to a report seen by GreatDykeNews24, ZELA also called on the government to eliminate secret deals in the mining which facilitate corruption within the sector.
“Mining is one of the sectors that the “Zimbabwe is open for Business” Mantra is supposed to deliver on.
“However, for a government that seeks to be a game changer leveraging on the Zimbabwe is open for business agenda, it is fundamental to eliminate secret deals in the mining sector which facilitate corruption, erode public confidence and create mistrust.
“Citizens must see clear linkages between upscaling of mining activities, mobilisation of resources to fight COVID-19 in the short term and social service delivery in the medium to long term,” reads the report.
According to the report, there is a high possibility that the opening of the mining sector especially the gold will heighten money laundering, illicit financial and mineral flows.
“The high demand and limited supply of forex has also been a push factor
of gold smuggling because the mineral can easily be used as a substitute currency.
“Given the scarcity of foreign currency and the restrictions of accessing foreign currency from RBZ, corruption can manifest in the gold market, as well as foreign earnings retained by government largely from mineral revenues.
“ZELA and CNRG are working with communities in mineral rich areas to follow the cases of corruption, mineral revenue mismanagement and facilitate online whistle blowing and digital activism,” reads part of the report.
The report added, “The conditions for mining set in SI 94/2020, fuel criminalisation of AS Miners who do not have capacity to institute health and safety in their operations.
“There is likelihood that artisanal miners who fail to meet the conditions will be arrested or be compelled to bribe law enforcement agents.
“ASM players who conduct mining without adequate protection and sanitation are exposed to COVID-19, which they can spread to their families and communities.”
According to the report , the country cannot afford to continue without mining activities during this COVID-19 induced lockdown.
“In 2019, mineral exports contributed US$2.9 billion, accounting for 55.2% of the country’s total export earnings and approximately 73% of the value of the National Budget.
“The 2020 National Budget of Zimbabwe was valued at US$3.975 at the time of its presentation in November, 2019 (Using Interbank Exchange Rate of US$1: ZW$16 that prevailed at the time of its presentation).
Through the mining strategy that was launched in October 2019, the Government is ambitiously targeting to realise US$12 billion annually from mining by 2023.
The government’s decision to allow the mines to operate was triggered by the need to preserve the US$12 billion mining milestone that will become the country’s bedrock for turning around the economy.