HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsMining licences hike, total madness

Mining licences hike, total madness

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The announcement by government on Wednesday that it is proposing hefty registration, rental and licence fees for mining activities once again demonstrates the toxic policy inconsistency that bedevils our authorities.

One would have thought that at a time when the nation is desperately seeking funding, it would not be prudent to hike the costs for those in need of capital.

At the same time the hefty fees, which Mines and Mining Development permanent secretary, Prince Mupazviriho, confirmed would be announced soon, fly in the face of the administration’s indigenisation policy.

Which indigenous person, or foreigner for that matter, can fork out $500 000 just for a prospecting licence?

Half a million dollars in real money just to go around checking whether there is platinum in a particular area! And if there isn’t, well there goes your hard-earned money, because the fees are paid once off and are non-refundable. Try again next time. Sure!

The proposed hefty increases are obviously premised on the assumption that if one is already mining platinum elsewhere they must be loaded with money and therefore they can easily throw away half a million dollars.

Mind you, an EPO is for a specific area, so if you want to check in three or four areas that means forking out up to $2 million.

There is but one term to describe such a phenomenon; daylight robbery. Common sense dictates to the average person that if an area is reputed for robbery, avoid it at all costs.

That is why many avoid walking late at night, in alley ways, dimly-lit streets etc. We wonder which investor would venture into this one big dark alleyway called Zimbabwe and risk being robbed blind.

Why, we ask, does our government try very hard to scare away investors, both local and foreign, at the slightest opportunity?

It seems we are flooded with civil servants with PhDs in Economics whose doctoral thesis was “Post hyperinflation:

How to scare off investment and stem economic recovery.” Are these the persons that staff our Ministry of Investment Promotion, or once again, are we seeing the one side of the unity government maintaining the old order?

The increase in prospector’s fees alone amount to a whopping 333 233% rise from the previous $150. The authorities must remember that although mineral commodity prices have been up over the past 18 months or so, the only other way they can go in the future is down. Everyone knows that mineral prices are cyclical.

We therefore urge a serious rethink on the proposed senseless fees before they cause further damage not only to our re-awakening mining industry but our tottering economy.

One can only hope that the authorities are not serious about this increase and will announce at a later date that this had been caused by a gross computer era stemming from a Zesa power outage.

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