Mines ministry lament over preliminary 2024 budget allocation – says 2023 work stalled by inadequate funds and volatile macroeconomic environment

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By Reason Razao | Senior Reporter

The majority of the work undertaken by the Ministry of Mines and Minerals stalled in 2023 owing to inadequate budget allocation and the general volatile macroeconomic milieu, the Parliamentary portfolio committee has said.

The Ministry of Mines was originally allocated ZWL12 billion as of September 2023 the revised budget now stands at ZWL27 billion.

For 2024, the Treasury capped the estimated expenditure at ZWL94 billion against the ministry’s bid of  ZWL696  billion.

Presenting outcomes from the stakeholder consultations at this year’s pre-budget seminar, held under the theme ‘Consolidating Economic Transformation’, Mines and Mineral Development committee chairperson Remigious  Matangira said the ministry now relies on unallocated Reserves.

Matangira, who highlighted that much of the ministry’s work was in limbo, called on the Treasury to avail adequate funds.

“The total bid for the Ministry is ZWL696 121 222 000.  The Treasury capped the estimated expenditure at ZWL94 659 006 000,” said Matangira.

“This amount fell short with ZWL601 billion to meet the Ministry’s bid policy and administration was allocated ZWL32 929 057 076 down from a bid of ZWL255 777 049 000.

“Mining Development and Management made a bid of ZWL243 011 487 000 and was allocated ZWL20 846 721 924. Capital made a bid of ZWL197 332 686 000; the estimate was capped at ZWL13 511 097 000,” he added.

In his presentations, Matangira highlighted that the ministry had failed to undertake required inspections and audits of mines.

He also said there is currently rapid backlog clearance which could not be implemented to optimal level while capacity building of the Metallurgical Laboratory is lagging.

According to the chairperson, among other challenges, the ministry also failed to maintain vehicles as well as lacking adequate tools of trade.

Stakeholder consultations also revealed that funding of the Gemology Centre is behind schedule and the exploration programme under Mining Promotion Corporation (MPC) was not adequately funded.

Matangira said key Priorities for 2024 center on the minimization of mineral leakages through the capacitation of Minerals Flora and Fauna Unit under SGU Fund which will acquire inspection vehicles and other tools of trade, training and human resources.

Priorities will also include the capacitation of the mining industry loan fund to assist small-scale miners in boosting mineral production

According to Matangira, there is a need to refurbish provincial places of business and purchase stands and offices in provincial mining offices.

He added that there is a need to create safe mining and mineral accountability programmes.

As part of observations and recommendations, Matangira said the 2024 budget is inadequate as it falls short with a stupendous $601 billion.

“Treasury should allocate an additional $300 billion towards critical expenditure items identified especially towards; rolling out of the Mining Cadastre Information Management System; Capacitation of the Metallurgical Department; Minimisation of mineral leakages; and capacitation of the Mining Industry Loan Fund; and Purchase of Stands for construction of Provincial Mining Offices,” said Matangira.