Experts Decry Policy Vacuum In Zim’s Mining Sector

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By Felix Matasva

EXPERTS say the lack of a clear national policy that guides mining sector legislation is as a major setback in achieving sustainable development in Zimbabwe.

The 2022 National budget channelled ZW$3 billion to finance the amendment of Mines and Minerals Act and operationalisation of the mining cadastre system, among other cocktail measures.

But experts say lack of finalisation of the amendment to the archaic law remains a major concern.

Mineral economist and chairman of the Institute of Mining at the University of Zimbabwe Lyman Mlambo told there is laxity within Government and political leaders to establish a National Minerals Development Policy (NMDP) due to vested interests.

“The policy vacuum is a critical issue that needs to be addressed and the problem that we have is lack of political commitment to complete a NMDP,” Mlambo said.

He added: “We had a draft in 2013 and up to now we are still talking of developing a policy. Some people are benefiting from existence of a policy vacuum and absence of restrictive legislations needed to ensure mining benefits accrue to the nation rather than to individuals. People that are supposed to make those policies are also players in the mining sector.”

Mlambo noted lack of a policy cripples the country’s ability to develop necessary legislations in line with current trends.

“There is a policy vacuum both at the NMDP level and also at mineral specific levels. A policy entails the country’s valued principles, objectives and policy statements that are milestones to be achieved. NMDP policy has been long drawn as it started around 2010 and we got our first draft in 2013.”

“It is my hope all we will probably have one by the first half of 2022. Sluggish pace in finalising NMDP is a drawback leaving several acts governing the mining sector without any policy foundation. The Diamond policy , Precious Stones Act and other acts are baseless because there is no a policy that provides a general guideline of such legislations,” said Mlambo.

An academic and Director of Zimbabwe Natural Resources Dialogue Freeman Bhoso concurred with Mlambo on the need of a watertight policy to guide legislation in Zimbabwe’s mining sector saying: “A policy is important because it shapes up the legislations. Legislation gives a framework on how to maximise, protect national interest, integrity and citizens from exploitation in the process of attaining sustainable development. If we have a defective legislative framework, it means we will also have deficits and gaps in terms of effectiveness.”

“For us to maximise, harness and ensure that the country achieves sustainable development from natural resources exploitation there is need to have a watertight legislative framework. This will safeguard the country and citizens from being prejudiced from benefiting from natural resources exploitation,” he added.