Zimbabwe can easily earn US$11 billion a year from diamond, chrome and gold sales alone- Eddie Cross


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Zimbabwe can easily earn US$11 billion a year from diamond, chrome and gold sales alone if government, business and labour put their heads together and work amicably under the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF).

This was said by Bulawayo South Member of Parliament Eddie Cross in his contribution to the motion on social dialogue discussions between government, business and labour proposed by Mberengwa East Member of Parliament Makhosini Hlongwane.

Cross, a policy advisor to the Movement for Democratic Change, said Zimbabwe was presently facing an economic crisis and might fail to pay civil servants this month’s salaries because people did not recognise its potential, especially the importance of working together.

“Let me list some of our potential. We have the potential to supply 25% of global demand for diamonds. The global market for diamonds is worth US$20-30 billion per annum. This would reflect in Zimbabwe, the opportunity to earn over US$4 billion a year from diamonds.

“This is not fiction, but is a reality. We have in Zimbabwe 25% of the world’s stocks of chrome. If we were able to supply 25% of global demand for chrome, it would result in over US$2 billion a year of revenue to the Zimbabwean economy.

“We have the capacity to become the fourth largest gold producer in the world. There are over 200 large open cast gold mines in preparation at this moment in time. The first one, developed by ACR is almost ready to begin production. We have the capacity to produce 100 tonnes of gold a year; that is not fiction, but it is reality.

“Last year, our sales of gold were about 40 tonnes worth US$2.2 billion. It employed nearly half a million people and it was one of the key supporters of our stability last year. Can you imagine, if we were able to increase that by two and half times to US$5 billion a year,” Cross said.

He said industry also had a lot of potential. At one time Zimbabwe produced 21 million pairs of shoes a year. Today, it produces less than one and a half million pairs of shoes a year.

“Fifteen to twenty years ago, 90% of what you bought in a supermarket was manufactured in Zimbabwe. Today, I doubt if 40% is manufactured in Zimbabwe. That is the reality that we face and it is a common concern for everyone of us and we have to be concerned as to how we can unlock this potential.

“How do we become a rich developing country? How do we become a State that is growing at 8, 10 or 15 percent per annum? I do not believe it is impossible that we can look at growth rates of that nature. I agree with my colleagues from the labour movement who have just spoken; we need legislation to give the TNF faith.

“Above all you cannot legislate to create Ubuntu, the spirit that drives people who are successful. That is created by leadership, participation, consensus and vision. Until we get there Madam Speaker, we are not going to be able to pay our civil servants a decent wage because we are not a productive nation.

“The key to production, key to the future, to a decent quality of life for all of our people, the key to equity in society is the social dialogue that is created through the TNF. That is what we have got to put in place.”

 

Full contribution:

 

MR. CROSS: Thank you Madam Speaker. I find it very interesting this afternoon that we have virtually heard three voices from the TNF in the form of Hon. Hlongwane, talking from the Government perspective, Chikwinya talking from the point of view of the employer and now the voice of labour.

I must say, this is an extremely important motion and it is one that should command all of our attention. The Kadoma Declaration was a very progressive move on the part of the three parties. The fact that it was launched in 2010 by the President should in fact indicate to us that this matter has the highest priority in terms of Government.

In South Africa, when the good Nedlac meets, it is at the centre of national attention. Everybody sits up and listens to what happens. Out of Nedlac it has come up with many initiatives in South Africa which have helped South Africa maintain stability and economic growth. This is the key element that is missing here in Zimbabwe.

In my view, we have to recognise this afternoon that Zimbabwe’s economy is in dire straits. I looked at the headlines in yesterday’s Herald. I read the statement by Mr. Goche, the Minister responsible and I had a sinking feeling in my heart as to how on earth they are going to be able to fulfill these promises.

I sat in the Finance Committee on Monday and listened to the Secretary for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development indicated to us that he was busy getting together the resources to fulfill the commitments made by the President and the Minister. We all know that on the 25th of this month, we will not have the money in the coffers in order to fulfill our promises to our people.

This reflects a national crisis; one which will engulf all of us. We have to recognise in this House that if the economy improves or grows, it lifts everybody. It lifts those of us who are in opposition and those in Government. What we need to do is to recognise that which is missing because if you look at our potential, it is enormous.

Let me list some of our potential; we have the potential to supply 25% of global demand for diamonds. The global market for diamonds is worth 20-30 billion dollars per annum. This would reflect in Zimbabwe, the opportunity to earn over 4 billion dollars a year from diamonds.

This is not fiction, but is a reality. We have in Zimbabwe 25% of the world’s stocks of chrome. If we were able to supply 25% of global demand for chrome, it would result in over 2 billion dollars a year of revenue to the Zimbabwean economy.

We have the capacity to become the fourth largest gold producer in the world. There are over 200 large open cast gold mines in preparation at this moment in time. The first one, developed by ACR is almost ready to begin production. We have the capacity to produce 100 tonnes of gold a year; that is not fiction, but it is reality.

Last year, our sales of gold were about 40 tonnes worth 2.2 billion dollars. It employed nearly half a million people and it was one of the key supporters of our stability last year. Can you imagine, if we were able to increase that by two and half times to five billion dollars a year.

In the industrial sector, we have a capacity within the SADC region to become the leading industrial manufacturer in the region. Our people work hard. Our labour force is unparallelled; it is the best labour force in Southern Africa and it is waiting to be used. I am an industrialist who has been in the industry for many many years. I was in the shoe industry when we employed three and a half thousand people.

When our companies produced 21 million pairs of shoes a year. Today, Madam Speaker, we employ less than five thousand people in the entire section involved in the shoe and leather industry and we produce less than one and a half million pairs of shoes a year. We are a tiny shadow of what we used to be.

Fifteen to twenty years ago, 90% of what you bought in a supermarket was manufactured in Zimbabwe. Today, I doubt if 40% is manufactured in Zimbabwe. That is the reality that we face and it is a common concern for everyone of us and we have to be concerned as to how we can unlock this potential. How do we become a rich developing country? How do we become a State that is growing at 8, 10 or 15 percent per annum? I do not believe it is impossible that we can look at growth rates of that nature.

The fastest growing economy in the world today is Angola and we should look at what it would make for us to achieve this kind of growth rate. The answer is there for us; we do not have to invent the solutions.

The answers are there. We have already created the institutions that are necessary. We all know what is required. At the Rainbow Towers the other day, we heard in silence as a Chinese business man talked to us about his experience of leaving Tanzania in 1979 and going back to the capital of his country, Beijing, with a request from his daughter in Beijing that he brings with him soap, sugar, baby food; the fundamentals to Beijing; and today, just 35 years later, Beijing commands the second largest economy in the world.

That is possible in Zimbabwe. You must understand that. That is possible –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- The question is; what are we going to do about it because for heaven’s sake, this will not happen without leadership. If it is not leadership from this House, then where is it going to come from? It will not come from Beijing, Washington or London.

It must come from us in Zimbabwe. We are the ones who have the responsibility to our nation to give us leadership in order to create the environment in which this growth is possible. I long for a Zimbabwe where every one of my grand children will remain in Zimbabwe and live here. I have a son who is 47 years of age and he does not own his own home or car.

When I left university in 1987, I owned a motor car and I bought a property within 12 months. What has happened to our country since then? The key to building a new society, the key to growth, the key to maintaining and achieving these goals is found in consultation and consensus and agreement.

If you have a look at Germany, how did Germany recover from the disaster of the Second World War, when 60 million people died in Europe as a consequence of Hitler’s tyranny, when we in the West destroyed Germany completely. We destroyed their infrastructure, buildings and their economy and yet by 1955, Germany was standing up and what was the key? The key was social consensus and today you never hear of a strike in Germany.

You look South to South Africa, they are in a state of war. For three months the Platinum Industry has been on strike. It has cost South Africa R12 billion it cost workers in the platinum industry R5 billion; it cost them lives at Marikana. Do we want that kind of situation in Zimbabwe- no, but it will happen if we do not provide leadership. It will happen if we do not provide the structures within which we can achieve social harmony.

In my industrial life, when I was chairman of the Industrial Employees Association, we were dealing with 38 unions and Tsvangirai was the Secretary General to the ZCTU, we employed 300 000 people. Madam Speaker, I never found the unions unconstructive. I found the unions prepared to work with us as employers. The unions were prepared to work with us as industrialists, prepared to create a sound environment for growth.

Hon. Hlogwane has introduced an extremely important motion. Why? It is because we have created the institutions which are necessary to create this environment in the form of the TNF. The problem is that none of the tripartite members to the TNF are doing anything about it. The initiative must come from us. It starts here in this House.

I agree with my colleagues from the labour movement who have just spoken; we need legislation to give the TNF faith. Above all you cannot legislate to create Ubuntu, the spirit that drives people who are successful. That is created by leadership, participation, consensus and vision. Until we get there Madam Speaker, we are not going to be able to pay our civil servants a decent wage because we are not a productive nation.

The key to production, key to the future, to a decent quality of life for all of our people, the key to equity in society is the social dialogue that is created through the TNF. That is what we have got to put in place. Thank you Madam Speaker.

(20 VIEWS)

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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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