Our Resources, Our future: Reviewing and Mapping out the Extractives Sector Strategy

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Our Resources, Our future: Reviewing and Mapping out the Extractives Sector Strategy

The Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD), in collaboration with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), recently held an Extractive Sector Review and Strategy Mapping Workshop which ran under the theme ‘Strengthening Community Participation in the Extractives Sector. The meeting held in Harare facilitated dialogue with mining communities in mapping a strategy for the mobilisation of a progressive and sustainable extractive sector that is responsive to community and environmental interests.

The meeting held under ZIMCODD’s natural resources governance thematic area was driven by the realisation that communities are not deriving meaningful benefits from the exploitation of natural resources in their areas. ZIMCODD envisages that; if well managed, the extractive sector has the potential to improve communities’ livelihoods, contribute to the national fiscus for financing of developmental programmes that have an impact on the realisation of social and economic rights. Emerging issues in the extractive sector such as rampant abuse of human rights, lack of transparency on mineral revenue, criminalisation of livelihood such as artisanal mining among other issues must be interrogated.

“Zimbabwe is open for business”is the new Government‘s mantra and economic reforms such as amending the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act is underway. The new Act will confine the 51/49 Indigenisation threshold to only two minerals, namely diamonds and platinum. The Government is hungry for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)and participants argued that it must also thirst to uphold the UN Guiding Principles and Business and Human Rights, a set of guidelines for States and companies to prevent, address and remedy human rights abuses committed in business operations.  This comes in the wake of several reports of human rights violations in mining communities marred by conflict, forced labour and government crackdowns.

Participants drawn from Hwange also shared insights on the salary wrangle between Hwange Colliery Company Limited and workers’ spouses who have been demonstrating at the company’s premises demanding their husband’s dues owed by the coal mining giant. February 20th marked day 26 of the mass action and they have promised to stay put until Government resolves their grievances.

Some of the submissions made during the deliberations include the following;

·        

There is need to provide equity for the present and future generations. Mining closure plans are optional in Zimbabwe therefore CSOs through their watchdog role must ensure that Mining closure plans are made compulsory.

·        

Mining companies must not continue leaving a legacy of environmental damage. The Government must employ strong mechanisms to safeguard the environment for the benefit of both the present and future generations. 

·        

In Zimbabwe what we have is not Marikana but rather Maracana because Corporate Social Investment is linked with football at the expense of community development.  (Maracana is a stadium in Brazil which underwent a renovation from 2010-2013 which resulted in it becoming the largest stadium in Brazil and the second largest in South America).

·        There is need to ensure tax justice in the mining sector, no to tax holidays. If Zimbabwe loses opportunities to garner tax revenue the nation would have lost a great opportunity for development.

·        

The Government must ensure there is transparency on mining contracts; the open data policy must be embraced.

·        

The Government must urgently move towards formalising Artisanal Small Scale Miners (ASSM) considering that this sector supports the livelihoods of thousands of people.

·        

Exploration costs for ASSM are very high and there is need for Government to urgently revise these.

·        

Ease of Doing Business should reflect elements of promoting ASSM.

The extractives strategy developed during the meeting will be useful in the lobby for a turnaround from the extractivistic economic structure to a sustainable economic model.

 

 

 

Release Date: 
Thursday, March 1, 2018 - 13:15

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