DIAMOND watchdogs are piling more pressure on Mines minister Walter Chidakwa to halt operations at the underperforming newly-formed Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) until seriousness prevails.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
This followed reports that ZCDC last month only managed to sell 71 000 carats worth about $1 million.
Out of this $1 million, the government will get about $200 000 for the 20,875% total remittances from the sale of diamonds.
This was against the projections Chidakwa made in March that ZCDC would be selling 500 000 carats every month worth an average $30 million.
But the minister told the State media last week that for June they only managed to sell 71 000 carats.
However, such poor performance has infuriated civil society organisations who have been calling for sanity to prevail in the sector.
Centre for Natural Resource Governance director Farai Maguwu said ZCDC was built on lies meant to line pockets of a few individuals.
“My take is that government is taking the nation for a ride. The promise of $30 million was meant to justify the takeover of Marange by a new group of looters-led officials in the Mines ministry, who are saying it’s our turn to eat,” he said.
“The way ZCDC was set up clearly shows it was meant to continue with the opaqueness of its predecessors with no transparency in appointment of ZCDC staff and board.”
Centre for Research and Development director James Mupfumi said the company would not turn around the diamond industry judging by its performance so far.
“ZCDC operations are ultra vires the Constitution. It’s an Executive decision meant to benefit the Executive arm of the State at the expense of the fiscus. This is evidenced by the little pennies trickling into Treasury since they started mining operations. Zimbabweans must demand immediate cessation of their operations,” Mupfumi said.
Zimbabwe co-ordinator of the Kimberley Process representing the Civic Society Shamiso Mtisi said there was a lack of seriousness in government over the diamond sector.
“They need to reorient the way they consolidated the company, start afresh and do it properly. Bring in genuine investors,” Mtisi said.
The government recently revealed that in March, ZCDC made $3,5 million from the sale of 218 278 carats, $2,2 million from 222 528 carats in April and $900 000 from 72 563 carats sold in May.