What I would do if I were Mines Minister Winston Chitando

  1. Clean up the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). Much of the rot in the mining sector is in SOEs such as the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) among others. There should be a complete overhaul of these institutions, with new boards and new demands on their reporting and accountability, cutting wasteful expenditure.
  2. Push for a full investigation into the whereabouts of the $15 billion former president Robert Mugabe said has been stolen. The actual figure is probably much less but this was stated by the president himself under no pressure from anybody. So this figure will not just go until there is closure on the matter. If unresolved, it will hang on any ZANU-PF government like an albatross.
  3. Win over the citizenry. If there is one sector that is reviled for deep seated corruption and mismanagement it is the mining sector. This is due to the heightened expectations that the government whipped up when alluvial diamonds were discovered in Marange, and the consequent failure of government to meet those expectations. Who doesn’t recall the then minister of mines, Obert Mpofu stating matter-of-factly that Zimbabwe will never beg again! Chitando must do things that demonstrate that mining will now be handled in a transparent and accountable manner. A clear minerals policy and presentation of the same at a multi-stakeholder and public conference would go a long way in doing this. A policy that commits to full and disaggregated — by project — disclosure of mining revenues.
  4. To the extent possible, support the RBZ in its efforts to mop up gold from artisanal and small-scale gold miners. This will include supporting monitoring efforts and assessing the impact of paying miners in bond notes, even with the export incentive, as opposed to hard currency and adapting accordingly.
  5. He should seriously consider removing the export incentive for mineral exports. Our mineral sector is largely disarticulated from the rest of the industry therefore miners are still going to export. The demand elasticity of most mineral commodities is not highly variable.
  6. Host an investor’s conference (or several in the right foreign capitals!) only after finalising the minerals development policy and the reform the Mines and Minerals Act. Prostrating ourselves in foreign capitals is not something we aspire to but Zimbabwe does need foreign capital for our large-scale mining industry. This may happen post the first 100 day cycle.
  7. There are a lot of property rights issues that need to be addressed – the two that possibly need urgent attention is the bundling up of companies operating in Marange into the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company; and the involuntary ceding of land held by Zimplats to the government. For all these companies’ faults and our failure to negotiate good terms and manage our resources well, we must demonstrate that we respect property rights and abide by our laws. Gangsterism must be a thing of the past.
  8. Work on models that ensure that mines always have enough energy. Consistent production has repeatedly been compromised by electricity supply challenges. Mines must be prioritised and models where they secure they own power supply through the national grid should be explored.
  9. Get a hold of what is happening at Gache Gache. What is happening there is a disgrace and does not encourage private investment.

By Gilbert Makore for The Source


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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