THE mining sector is expected to play a key role in the country’s economic revival and growth, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has said.Presenting the 2019 budget, which is expected to be the first step towards Vision 2030 by which Zimbabwe should be an upper middle income earning country, Minister Ncube said the mining sector is expected to register the highest growth. The budget was presented under the theme “Austerity for Prosperity.”
“The positive contributions of mining in terms of GDP, foreign generation, employment and other benefits from value chains have to be consolidated under the TSP and 2019 Budget,” said Minister Ncube.
“In 2018 alone, foreign currency earnings from mining was US$2,3 billion for the first nine months and are expected to reach US$2,9 billion by year end.
“In terms of employment, the sector is estimated to be providing slightly over 33 000 formal direct jobs with indirect jobs through upstream and downstream industries estimated at about 70 000 and approximately 500 000 Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) while slightly over a million people are dependent on the sub-sector.
“While performances to September 2018 of key minerals such as diamond, nickel and PGMs point to better prospects for 2018, than previous year’s forecast, the performance in gold, chrome and coal is expected to be below targets.
“The mining sector growth for 2018 has been further revised downwards from the initial revision of 26 percent to 13 percent.
“In the outlook, the mining sector is projected to grow by 8,1 percent in 2019, subject to implementation of a number of measures that facilitate the viability of the sector,” he said.
The Minister also notes that for Vision 2030 to be achieved, there is need for a further push towards mineral value addition and beneficiation. The Minister notes that while some progress has been noted in the diamonds, gold and platinum sectors, a lot still needs to be done for the nation to fully industrialise.
“The thrust is to add value and beneficiate more, through processing and refining of minerals, and link processed and refined minerals to the manufacturing sector, in order to industrialise.
“While some progress has been made in the value addition of diamonds, gold and platinum, more needs to be done to fully realise the benefits of this strategy, in terms of job creation and export earnings,” he said.
Other sectors expected to drive growth, Minister Ncube said, include distribution, hotels and restaurants, transportation and communication, agriculture and forestry as well as the construction industry.