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EITI project hits snag

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Debate over the chairmanship of the Zimbabwe Mining Revenue Transparency Initiative Oversight Group (Zog) has delayed the constitution of the mining sector’s watchdog.

Principal director in charge of research in the Prime Minister’s Office, Thabani Mpofu, yesterday told a stakeholder’s meeting in the capital that although a secretariat had been set up, disagreements on whether Zog should be led by a government bureaucrat or a private sector player were stalling the full constitution of the body.

Mpofu is the interim Zog chairman.

The formation of the Zog initiative is in line with the country’s bid to become a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (EITI), a World Bank driven initiative.

Currently the ZMRTI, a local project run by the Prime Minister’s office, is engaging with the EITI, which promotes publication, disclosure and verification of revenue and payments made to the government by companies in the oil, mining and gas sectors. The initiative is also meant to eliminate corruption, conflicts and poverty, otherwise termed “resource curse” by increasing revenue and payments from mining, oil and gas resources.

“Though we have tentative members of Zog, we still haven’t fully formalised the structure of Zog with ZMRTI and we still have an interim chairman,” Mpofu said.

“So as a result you will find out that all the programmes that we set for Zog from February 2012 going forward, would have not been achieved because we haven’t appointed a substantive chairman to lead this process.

“There were two schools of thought at the time that the tentative board was set.

“The first one was that Zog must be chaired by a government representative since the government are drivers of this process (process is driven by office of the Deputy Prime Minister).

“There was another school of thought, which said if we put government officials we will be bullied into a process that we may not intend to follow, so it is imperative that a member from outside the government be appointed chairman of Zog.

“I think it’s a debate that is yet to be concluded.”
Mpofu added that Zog was expected to finalise its charter and work plan before seeking Cabinet approval.

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