Finance Minister Tendai Biti today said diamond revenue could be going to a parallel government as treasury only received US$30.4 million against a target of US$122.5 million in the first quarter of this year.
“There are challenges of opaqueness. As Ministry of Finance, we fear that there might be a parallel government in respect of where the revenue is going and not coming to Treasury. This economy needs every resource it can get including diamond revenue,” Biti was quoted by his party as saying.
“Diamond revenue has been under-performing since January 2012, with only US$30.4 million received by treasury for the period January to March 2012. This is against a target of US$ 122.5 million,” he said.
Biti slammed Chinese company Anjin for not remitting any revenue yet it is the biggest mining company in Marange.
“There are four major mining companies in Marange. One of these companies, Anjin, has not remitted a single cent to treasury. The Constitution of Zimbabwe is very clear: all fees, taxes and other sources of revenue in Zimbabwe shall be paid into and form one Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), so the constitution is clearly being breached because not every cent is being accounted to the CRF. We bear the brunt because everyone looks at the Ministry of Finance, yet people do not look at where the money is coming from,” he said.
The issue of Zimbabwe’s diamond revenue going to a parallel government and even the military has been raised on several occasions, especially by non-governmental organisations involved in diamonds.
But what has been disturbing is the focus on Marange alone when diamonds are also mined at River Ranch in Beitbridge and at Murowa near Zvishavane by Rio Tinto.
“Why are we focussing only on diamonds and only those from Marange?” an economic commentator asked. “Why are we not talking about revenue from platinum, from gold, and from other minerals? This smacks of double standards. Why should be apply one set of standards for Marange and another set for everyone else?”