The Sunday Mail
Golden Sibanda in Victoria Falls
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa on Friday demanded an immediate end to bureaucracy by companies and individuals against foreign investors as the country witnesses unprecedented investor interest in the mining sector and associated value chains.
The head of State and Government also stressed that investments in mining and related industries, designated to drive short to medium term economic growth were welcome and safe in Zimbabwe.
Government has since set a target of growing the mining sector to a $US12 billion industry from about US$4 billion at the moment, largely driven by platinum and gold sub-sectors.
Addressing delegates at the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe (CoMZ) conference at Elephant Hills Hotel and Resorts in Victoria Falls, President Mnangagwa said many foreign investors go back home disappointed by red tape in Government and other entities.
The conference was held under the theme “Realising Vision 2030 Through Resource Led Growth.” The Head of State said Government was committed to supporting sustainable growth strategies for mining, guided by the mantra “Zimbabwe is open for business.”
President Mnangagwa said the issuance of licences to drive exploration, measures to open new and closed mines, enhancing capacity utilisation and expand projects, were gathering pace.
“As a result, the country is witnessing unprecedented investor interest in the mining sector and associated value chain industries.
“I am also informed that many investors go back home disappointed, after being moved from office to office, people to people; that should stop,” he said.
President Mnangagwa reiterated the point that Zimbabwe was open for business, but warned against corruption, which he said Government was determined to eliminate.
“We are determined to progressively eliminate bottlenecks, red tape and all forms of corruption within Government bureaucracy.
“We, as the Government, have set up the Zimbabwe Investment Development Authority (ZIDA), which shall be one stop shop investment centre,” the President said.
President Mnangagwa challenged the mining sector to objectively deliberate and align policy recommendations for the sector for win-win outcomes between investors, Government and communities.
He said Government recognised the importance of strong and effective legal, regulatory, fiscal and monetary frameworks, policies and practice for development of the sector. “As a listening Government, we will continue to be responsive to your views.”
The President said Government was committed to ongoing reforms so that the country goes back to firm course of development towards its vision of middle income economy by 2030.
“To this end, I urge the two ministries of mines and mining development and finance and economic development to speedily conclude the development of a consolidated fiscal regime for the ease of doing business,” the President said.
He said it was also important for the sector to enhance co-operation with regards to value addition, beneficiation and the subsequent marketing of the country’s diverse minerals. Meanwhile, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said Government target of growing the mining industry to a US$12 billion by 2023 was not a pipe dream, but realistic.
This comes as Government is targeting growing gold production to 100 tonnes, platinum to 50 tonnes, diamond to 10 million carats, coal and hydro carbons to liquid fuels and chrome and steel to stainless steel.
Further, he said Government and stakeholders in mining would meet in July to map the strategy for growing gold production beyond 100 tonnes, which he said “was not a dream, but achievable target.”
The Minister also said three diamond mining firms were set to start mining or project development with Chinese firm Anjin poised to start production almost immediately.
In a separate presentation to delegates, outgoing CoMZ president Batirai Manhando said Government’s bold declaration that Zimbabwe is open for business had raised investor interest.
Mr Manhando said this comes on the back of sterling growth of the mining sector last year after it expanded by 13 percent from 8,5 percent over a similar period the previous year.
However, he said in near outlook, growth in the mining sector was projected to slow down by 5 percent weighed down by poor performance in the first quarter, when all minerals declined.
“Medium to long term prospects of the mining industry is very bright, output for most minerals is expected to record phenomenal growth, as Government and private sector focus on opening closed mines, increasing capacity, exploration and developing new mines,” he said.
Mr Manhando said the country holds huge potential given that it remains largely under explored. He said the mining industry required US$14 billion over the next 5 years for capital and sustenance.