VICTORIA FALLS, September 18 (The Source) – The Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa) says it is crafting a mineral policy to regulate and standardise the mining sector in the region to reduce leakages and exportation of raw minerals.
Comesa private sector development officer, Innocent Makwiramiti, told The Source at the Zimbabwe Institute of Management 14th International Management conference in Victoria Falls that members of the 19-country bloc had weak monitoring systems to deal with leakages and tax evasion in the mining sector.
“We are crafting a mineral policy that would deal with minerals after realisation that the mining sector in the region is not doing well because of poor pricing framework and policy formulation,” said Makwiramiti.
“We need to harmonise and standardise rules and regulations to bring sanity in the minerals sector and deal with taxation and revenue management which have been lacking.”
The policy would be completed by end of year and forwarded to member states for adoption, he said, adding that it was in the interest of every member state to have such a policy to move away from exporting raw minerals to beneficiation and value addition.
“If Comesa member states are to transform their economies from being export oriented to beneficiation, they must do something about beneficiation. Right now all countries are exporting their minerals in raw form,” said Makwiramiti.
“This is why Zimbabwe diamond mining is not doing well because there is no clear cut policy.”
Makwiramiti said the new policy, once in place, would integrate the mining sector in each member state into mainstream economies.
He said a consultant was is doing baseline work and collecting information needed from all member states as the formulation process progresses.
Zimbabwe has proposed to nationalise all diamond mining firms as a way of dealing with leakages. It formulated a diamond policy in 2012, but critics say it does not have the force of law in ensuring there is compliance, transparency and accountability in the industry, leading to millions worth of diamonds being smuggled out of the country.