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‘Government stifling transparency in mining sector’

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GOVERNMENT has been accused of stifling initiatives to enforce transparency in the mining sector although it has adopted the Extractive International Transparency Initiatives (EITI).

by VENERANDA LANGA

The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela), which also runs the Publish What You Pay chapter that advocates transparency in mining revenue, said although national budgets from 2011 expressed government promises to adopt EITI and disclose information about mining contracts and revenue, there has not been any progress in that regard.

“Transparency initiatives from 2011 to 2014 in the National Budget statements have been pointing at either the adoption of the Extractive International Transparency Initiative (EITI) or adapting EITI through a domestic initiative called the Zimbabwe Mining Revenue Transparency Initiative (ZMRTI), but no real and meaningful progress was made by government on these initiatives,” Zela said in its 2015 budget analysis report.
“The initiatives appear to have faced a lot of political resistance.”

The environmental lobby group said although the 2015 National Budget called for the resuscitation of ZMRTI, the budget statement failed to give clear guidelines and projected dates of implementation, thus casting doubts on government’s commitment to public transparency and accountability on mineral revenues.

“To compound matters, no provision for dividend revenue from diamonds was made despite that government owns no less than 50% stake in all the five companies operating in Marange. The only significant disclosure on Marange diamonds was that there should be transition from alluvial to conglomerate diamond mining.”

Zela said budget statements in the past four years parroted mineral revenue transparency without any meaningful changes on the ground and also called on the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to work closely with the Finance ministry to curb incidents of undervaluation of diamonds by the United Arab Emirates.

“Further, the Ministry of Mines representatives in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) should support efforts to have the issue of under-valuation of diamonds to be discussed by the KPCS.”

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