BY FARAI MATIASHE
The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) has urged stakeholders to push government and mining companies to improve transparency in revenue generated from sale of mineral resources.
Speaking at a breakfast meeting on unlocking value of State-owned enterprises in the mining sector in Harare last week, Zela senior programmes officer Nyaradzo Mutonhori said it was high time civil society organisations (CSOs) take an action-oriented approach for the implementation of constitutional provisions which call for transparency in the mining sector.
“We all know that there is a problem in terms of transparency, capacity and secrecy surrounding the mining sector and mineral resources governance, particularly in relation to mining revenues in Zimbabwe. We have been saying it for a very long time that we need to improve transparency and accountability in the mining sector,” she said.
Mutonhori said CSOs should bridge the gap between the Auditor-General (AG)’s reports and the members of the public by playing a facilitatory role through unpacking the AG’s reports.
“The AG produces a report every year, and we hear enterprises in government and parastatals failing to perform. When this information is provided as CSOs what are we doing to unpack and simplify it so that the ordinary man on the streets can understand and relate to those documents?” she asked.
Zela legal officer Richard Ncube said legislators should ensure that mining companies fulfil the constitutional clauses that require them to be transparent.
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines chairperson Edmond Mkaratigwa said parastatals under the Mines ministry would be under the spotlight on the role they are playing in generating the much-needed revenue for the fiscus.
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“It is worrying that at some of the country’s parastatals, there has been wanton destruction of property, theft and fraud of public funds, hence depriving the fiscus of the much-needed revenue. Such behaviours have been attributed to lack of ethical leadership and poor governance systems in place, among others,” he said.
“As a result you find those parastatals and their subsidiaries record losses one year after another. This has to stop and our parastatals, including those under the Ministry of Mines, need to start making meaningful contributions to the fiscus.
“As Parliament, through our oversight work we shall take the matter up with the relevant stakeholders, with the ultimate goal that there should be transformation in the way parastatals are operating.”