In order to benefit significantly from the country’s semi-precious stones and to witness the growth of the industry, the government of Zimbabwe should decriminalize possession of the stones, Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) Secretary for Gemstones and semi-precious stones Mr Privelage Moyo has said.
Speaking at a workshop organized by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) in Bulawayo, Moyo said although there is no law that directly speaks for the semi-precious stone industry, there is a need for the government to look into the sector and come up with a law that directly regulates the semi-precious stone industry.
Cutters and traders are reportedly experiencing harassment and unlawful arrests by the police for the possession of semi-precious stones without a licence yet there is no law in the country that specifically address the coloured gemstone industry.
Moyo said it was of importance for the government to come up with a semi-precious stone act to decriminalise the possession of coloured gemstones at the same time curbing smuggling of the stones.
“Government should decriminalize the trading of gemstones so that precious stones are traded through the formal market. This, in turn, will curb the smuggling and leakages of gemstones to other countries,” Moyo said.
The ZELA organized workshop agreed that for the coloured gemstones sector to grow and develop, there is a need for the country to come up with a gemstone policy to guide the producers and investors into the gemstone industry.
Women miners should form syndicates as this would make it easier for them to access information, funding and markets for gemstone production.
The Gemology Centre should be established in Mashonaland West and not in Mutare given that most of the gemstones are produced in Mashonaland West Province.
There is a need to support women to actively participate in the cutting and polishing of gemstones mined in Zimbabwe. This will create more jobs and wealth for the country.
Government departments CSOs need to work together to address the challenges faced by women miners in the gemstone sector.
Privelage Moyo is credited for guiding and assisting miners in identifying semi-precious stones.