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Mines Bill Amendment ready next week: Chitando

BY VENERANDA LANGA MINES minister Winston Chitando yesterday assured legislators that the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill would be ready for presentation to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines by September 17. Addressing MPs during a virtual conference organised by Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) on issues of transparency and accountability in the mining sector, Chitando said: “The Ministry of Mines and the Attorney-General’s Office will now go through the Mines and Mineral Act amendments and if there are areas that are not captured correctly, they will be amended.” “Thereafter, we will be in a position to present the draft amendments to the Mines Committee and as the ministry we should be ready after September 17,” he said. Turning to the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), he said staff in his ministry needed capacity-building on how to implement it. TIZ recently questioned why Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube in his 2020 budget speech indicated that Zimbabwe would adopt EITI, but to date the country has not done so. “The starting point for EITI is for us to have a workshop for ministry officials to understand what EITI is and its implications, as well as what is needed to implement it, the rollout plan and what is involved in EITI. It is currently difficult to implement something which people do not know as my directors do not know EITI,” Chitando said. Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda said the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill was two years ago referred back to Parliament by President Emmerson Mnangagwa after some loopholes were noted. “The Bill will be re-tabled before Parliament and passed. The US$12 billion mining industry is very ambitious but attainable. Let us hope that issues of transparency and accountability will be included in the Bill to put in place an enabling legal environment,” Chokuda said. TIZ executive director Muchaneta Mundopa said there was need for collaboration between government, civil society and mining companies to contribute to the success of the mining industry and to manage conflicts over management of mineral resources. “One wonders why Zimbabwe is in debt distress and donor dependent, yet we are endowed with mineral resources. That is as a result of unmet economic and social constraints as envisaged in EITI. We hope the Mines and Minerals Amendment Act will link mineral development to economic development,” Mundopa said.

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