ZIMBABWE is not in a position to liberalise domestic gold marketing and buying as this will negatively affect the flow of foreign currency into the economy, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) deputy governor Dr Kupukile Mlambo has said.
He was responding to calls by the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) at the recent annual mining indaba who demanded an end to the monopoly of Fidelity Printers and Refiners.
Fidelity is an RBZ subsidiary and sole gold buyer in the country.
Miners contend that the centralised gold buying system does not give them fair value for earnings and want Fidelity to compete with other players.
They also claim the monopoly is to blame for the sprouting of illicit gold trading on the parallel market and smuggling.
In an interview on the sidelines of a Sadc-Development Finance Institutions (Sadc-DFIs) forum hosted by the Sadc-Development Resource Centre, which ended here last Friday, Dr Mlambo said the call to liberalise the sector was not new.
“This is not the first time the call has come. An attempt to liberalise selling of gold was made between 2009 and 2013 but we realised that in terms of mobilisation of foreign currency, it was difficult because all sectors are supported by the mineral sector especially gold,” he said.
In my view, I think it is premature now to start thinking that we can liberalise the sector. What is important for me is that we ensure that the small-scale gold miners are paid a fair price, which is as close to the international price as possible and that they get other support, which we are giving them under the small-scale gold miners’ facility.”
ZMF president Ms Henrietta Rushwaya had said the monopoly by Fidelity Printers was opening up the gold mining sector to exploitation of players hence the need to formalise the small-scale mining sector.
She said the country has about 30 000 registered players and more than 1,5 million unregistered small-scale miners.
Stakeholders have also stressed the need to regularise and speedily formalise the small-scale gold mining sector to harness all the output into mainstream production.
Gold mining contributes significantly to the economy in terms of export receipts and jobs.
The gold mining industry targets to produce 100 tonnes per year by 2023 to contribute to the envisaged $12 billion mining sector earnings by 2030.
Meanwhile, Sadc-DFIs conference ended on a high note here amid calls for respective countries to capacitate development finance institutions to collectively address climate change risks.
All Sadc countries were represented at the forum held under the banner of the Sadc Development Finance Resource Centre (Sadc-DFRC). The common message was anchored on the need to come up with strategies to encourage every institution’s participation in green financing to address climate change related calamities such as cyclones and disasters.
Sadc-DFRC chief executive Mr Stuart Kufeni said the gathering recommended that every member state should address policy issues to create a conducive environment for finance institutions to embrace green financing.
“This is a forum to share experiences and discuss these issues as they cut across sectors from SMEs to big institutions. What came out is that there are parameters that we need to address if we are to effectively harness and be able to move on to green financing.
“There are issues of regulation and policy environment to ensure that we have a conducive environment so that we can green our economies. The DFIs from different countries have to take these recommendations home and be in a position to also implement in their own countries,” said Mr Kufeni.
Dr Mlambo officially opened the conference where he said Zimbabwe was working on a framework that will guide the country’s financial sector to adopt sustainable green financing principles.
The Sadc-DFRC has 41 certified DFIs.
Membership of the DFIs network is as prescribed by a Sadc protocol structure made up of Ministers of Finance and Investment and is confined to those that are Government owned and established through a policy targeted at developing specific sectors of the economy.
Source: The Chronicles