Zimbabwe was last week reported to have received a revenue windfall of $136.9 million from platinum and gold mining companies.
A windfall is supposed to be an amount of money that you get when you are not expecting it, especially a large amount.
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority had been expecting royalties of $130.1 million. They got only $6.8 million more. So was this a windfall? Should we be ululating for this or asking questions.
I believe that we should be asking questions, especially in view of the fact that ZIMRA is not getting the revenue that is due to it.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti said the country imported goods worth $6.5 billion last year but duty amounted to only $289.1 million. This meant that ZIMRA got only 4.4 percent when duty ranges from 4 to 40 percent.
No wonder the country only has $217 in its coffers. Someone is not doing his or her job.
Mineral exports were supposed to have totalled $2.54 billion. So the $136.9 million is only 5.4 percent of the exports. Granted the revenue was from only two minerals, but even then this should be food for thought.
But the most important question that must be asked is: how much did the mining companies earn? We can talk a about indigenisation, getting 51 percent, but 51 percent of what?
The platinum mining companies operating in Zimbabwe are beyond our reach.
Zimplats is registered in Guernsey, a tax haven, and is listed in Australia.
Implats is listed in Johannesburg and in London.
The gold mining companies are listed in Toronto or in London.
With rampant illicit flows through which Africa has lost more than $1 trillion and Zimbabwe is reported to have lost $4 billion, Zimbabweans need to be asking more questions about whether they are getting value for their minerals instead of ululating for the crumbs they get.