Licence fees for cutting and polishing diamonds, which had been set at US$100 000, are to be reviewed downwards to enable more players into this new field which will enhance revenue to the fiscus, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said.
Zimbabwe is currently selling rough diamonds and would like to start cutting and polishing to earn better returns.
Chinamasa was responding to a question by Buhera North Member of Parliament William Mutomba who had asked what the government was going to do about those who had paid US$20 000 for licences before the fee was upped to US$100 000.
“We all agreed, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development and myself, that we should not set the fees at a level which is prohibitive to the new industry. So, the levels which were previously set at US$100 000 are going to be reviewed downwards,” Chinamasa said.
“I cannot give you specifically what the amounts are going to be, but clearly we want them to be affordable to the new incoming (people).”
Q & A:
MR. MUTOMBA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Leader of the House. In 2011, there were people who had applied and paid for a diamond cutting and polishing licence. They paid US$20 000 for them to get that licence. Unfortunately, for these applicants, the amount was reviewed upwards to US$100 000. Meaning that those people who had paid US$20 000 were then asked to look for the extra US$80 000. Unfortunately again, some of these people failed to raise this money and the money is still with the Government. What is the Government’s position or policy towards that money that was paid to the Government?
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): Thank you very much for the question. This is an area I am quite familiar with because we have been having meetings with the Minister of Mines and Mining Development to ensure that the mining sector is productive and that we can trigger activities in that sector which would enhance revenues into the fiscus. So, we have been having a lot of meetings basically to ensure that for a start, the cutting and polishing should begin. I am aware Mr. Speaker Sir, that the Minister of Mines and Mining Development has already gazetted regulations to regulate the cutting and polishing of diamonds. I am also aware Mr. Speaker, that the Minister is trying to identify premises which could be ring-fenced for those activities to start taking place. I am further aware Mr. Speaker, that we have been discussing the levels of fees to be charged. We all agreed, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development and myself, that we should not set the fees at a level which is prohibitive to the new industry. So, the levels which were previously set at US$100 000 are going to be reviewed downwards. I cannot give you specifically what the amounts are going to be, but clearly we want them to be affordable to the new incoming place. I thank you.