‘Lack of accountability, transparency crippling mining sector’

LACK of accountability and transparency has largely crippled the extractive sector and unless urgent corrective measures are implemented, the mining sector faces a gloomy future, stakeholders have said.

BY OBEY MANAYITI

A statement by the stakeholders after a Publish What You Pay and Transparency International Zimbabwe-organised workshop said it was agreed that government resuscitates the Zimbabwe Mineral Revenue Transparency Initiative (ZMRTI).

The stakeholders agreed the initiative would go a long way in bringing normalcy in the extractive sector.

“The National Budget statements for the past three years have been pronouncing government’s commitment to resuscitate the Zimbabwe Mineral Revenue Transparency Initiative, which has been modelled as a local version of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI),” the statement read.

“Regardless of these pronouncements, no action has been taken by government to ensure that the progressive initiative comes to life. It is important, therefore, for civil society to keep in mind and continue advocating for the ZMRTI or any such initiative that upholds transparency and accountability in the mining sector.”

In an interview on the sidelines of the workshop, Darlington Muyambwa, the Publish What You Pay Zimbabwe Coalition co-ordinator, said it was imperative to ensure that Zimbabwe got maximum benefits from its minerals.

“As the Publish What You Pay Zimbabwe Coalition, we feel that as a country, we need to do more in ensuring that we get maximum revenue for our country’s mineral resources,” Muyambwa said.

“We need to strengthen transparency from a governance perspective, as well as transparency from the commercial side of things. We are losing a lot of resources, not only because of the inefficiency of our governance, but also because of the illicit financial flows from the operations of mining companies.”

Muyambwa added that there was need to strengthen the natural resource governance capacity as well as ensure responsible business investments that promoted the rights of communities, as well as curb leakages through practices such as tax evasion and transfer mispricing.

Rodney Ndamba, from Institute for Sustainability Africa, said the sector should plug leaks for the benefit of the country.

“The Zimbabwean mining sector has great potential to grow from its current plunge. There is capacity to initiate growth and development in a sustainable way, but only if the current challenges shrouding the sector in obscurity are addressed,” he said.

“The sector is facing legislative and socio-economic hindrances that have either initiated investors to shun away investing in Zimbabwe or have driven some investors to invest somewhere other than Zimbabwe.”

The workshop was organised to facilitate coalition policy dialogue on fiscal transparency and accountability in Zimbabwe and review fiscal transparency and generate lessons for the 2016 National Budget cycle, as well as to identify opportunities for strengthening public finance transparency and accountability.

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