- July 6, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
Government plans to standardise land development fees payable by all mining firms to rural district councils (RDCs) to improve the ease of doing business, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando has said.
Presently, individual RDCs have the prerogative to determine fees, which has resulted in huge discrepancies countrywide.
So wide have the discrepancies been that some local authorities are routinely accused of extorting, while others, who charge meagre fees, stand accused of aiding and abetting the unfair exploitation of local resources. Government, which seeks to drive economic growth by leveraging on the country’s huge mineral resources, is now considering standard and reasonable fees that benefit both miners and communities that live in mineral-rich areas.
“One of the issues that we would like to see addressed for all minerals is that you find that some rural district councils charge very little in terms of levies, some charge too much,” said Minister Chitando on the sidelines of a tour of a black granite mining venture in Mutawatawa (Mashonaland East) on Thursday.
“So what we would like is to have a standard rural district council levy across the country.
“Someone who is mining black granite here in Mutawatawa should be charged the same as someone mining the same mineral in Mutoko. Someone in gold mining in Mutoko should be charged the same as someone mining gold in Bubi,” he said.
Discussions on the new fees are underway. Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe president, Ms Elizabeth Nerwande, said Government’s intention was noble and welcome.
“The intention by Government to standardise the land development levy across RDCs is a welcome development and well supported by the Chamber of Mines,” she said.
“As we rearrange ourselves to remain in business and relevant to our operations, it is important to balance between return on our investments and benefit to the nation in a win-win situation.”
Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) president, Ms Henrietta Rushwaya, said the move dovetails with what the federation has been pushing for.
“This is what we have been clamouring for since we came into (ZMF) office,” said Ms Rushwaya.
“Land, whether in Shurugwi under Tongogara RDC or in Mt Darwin under Pfura RDC, is still State land, but some RDCs were taking advantage of the miners, especially chrome miners, and would invoice them up to US$80 000. It is our view that RDCs were targeting companies that they thought were viable and demand payments which were not even gazetted . . . Mutare RDC and Gwanda are examples (of local authorities) that have been charging well, while Ngezi, Mzingwane and Pfura have been unfriendly to the miners,” she said.
Mining is key to the country’s aspirations to achieve an upper-middle-income economy by 2030. The industry has been given a target to grow its exports from US$2,7 billion in 2017 to US$12 billion by 2023. herald