In any field of business, it is a prerequisite to have the substantial financial security that will cater to the needs of an individual in retirement, accident or death.
By Charmaine Kambale
However, small scale miners are being excluded in such services, thereafter causing financial distress when they retire. Small scale mining stands firm in Zimbabwe’s mining sector, hence the miners must be recognised for their significant efforts that are targeted towards capacitating Zimbabwe’s economy. Therefore, it is essential for Fidelity to set up trust funds (benefits) that will financially assist small scale miners in retirement.
Small scale mining can significantly contribute to poverty alleviation, providing meaningful opportunities for various individuals involved in the sector. Small scale mining includes poor informal individual miners aspiring to eke out in order to sustain a living.
When people come to retire, they will experience an excruciating reduction in income hence pension funds will mitigate this loss of income in retirement. It has been noticed that small scale miners have inadequate financial upkeep when they retire, there are a few organisations if any in Zimbabwe that oversees the lives of small scale miners post-operations.
To overcome this problem, Fidelity must set up trust funds of some sort that will subsidise small scale miners when they come to retire. It is actually commendable for Fidelity to take cognizance of small scale miners providing trust funds that will assist them when they retire.
These trust funds could emerge in the form of monthly payments made by miners to Fidelity such that when the miner retires, he or she will get a certain figure from their savings until the savings are finished. In addition to the preceding advantages, these trust funds will be sufficient, to a certain extent in providing a basic level of income for the miners when they retire.
Speaking to Mining Zimbabwe, Eng Chris Murove indicated that in most cases, small scale mining operations are not registered with NSSA hence this automatically concludes that they do not have any benefits when they retire and this is one area that requires immediate attention by the authorities.
‘’Workers would only get something at the end of their working lives when they retire if they are registered with NSSA and in more cases than not, small scale mining operations are not registered with NSSA. This is, therefore, one area where attention needs to be applied by the authorities.’’
Following the remarks opined by Eng Chris Murove, one can actually posit that Fidelity needs to consider the implementation of financial securing policies that will benefit small scale miners and artisanal miners on their own such that they will receive worthwhile benefits in retirement.
Mining Zimbabwe enquired with Fidelity to find out if there are any related funds that are meant to assist small scale miners post- operations and their response was given as follows,
‘’ As the Gold Development Initiative Fund, we are mandated to capacitate all small scale gold miners with bankable projects despite their age, current income levels or otherwise. Each project is reviewed on its own merits with emphasis placed on bankability and ability to repay the loan and increase gold production .‘’
Credit must be given to Fidelity for providing such provisions to small scale miners nevertheless, the GDIF is a loan facility that is supposed to paid back to the loaner in a specified time and it will not financially secure the miner when he or she stops operations. Thus, Fidelity must go an extra mile in setting up trust funds that could serve as benefits for small scale miners retirees.
This article first appeared in the September 2019 Issue of the Mining Zimbabwe Magazine.