Leopold Munhende | Chief Correspondent
- Sources claim recent policy meant to raise bonuses for civil service
MONTHLY gold deliveries are expected to go down by almost half of the usual two tonnes as artisanal and small scale miners protest government’s November 1 proclamation that they be paid 75% in US dollars and the remainder in Zimbabwe’s currency.
Artisanal miners and small scale miners had been receiving payments 100% in hard currency before the policy shift widely believed by small scale miners to have been driven by government attempts to raise civil service bonuses.
Popularly known as Makorokoza/Amakorokoza, artisanal and small scale miners contribute about 60% of national gold output.
Sources at government owned Fidelity Gold Refinery (FGR) have told NewZimbabwe.com deliveries are yet to get beyond a tonne, just 14 days to month-end.
Although a decade long economic crunch has forced government to stagger payment of the thirteenth cheque, bonuses are usually paid in November.
“The situation is not looking good, deliveries have considerably gone down and this will definitely have an impact on the national purse,” said a source who declined to be named.
“We hear this was meant to raise money to pay civil servants’ bonuses but from what we are seeing the plan is backfiring. Artisanal miners have virtually stopped deliveries because they feel government should have communicated or discussed with them.
“Most of them rarely use the local currency, they do not have bank accounts or use RTGS transfer platforms, they only know US dollars.”
Welfare of artisanal miners was discussed in Parliament on Wednesday, with Mines Deputy Minister Polite Kambamura requested to explain how they were delivering payments.
Artisanal miners and Small Scale Miners who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com claim the 25% is not being paid, but promised.
“Fidelity Printers have come up with mobile gold buying units whereby they will be going to those places that are remote for miners to sell their gold to the legal market.
“Besides that, we are also giving licences to private players who can go to where that mining is taking place and buy that gold,” Kambamura told Parliament.