Zimbabwe: Mid-Term Policy Review to Clear Mining Misconception

24 February 2021

Business Reporter

Government says the legal clarity needed to clear the misconception created as a result of an amendment to the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act (Chapter 14:33) (IEE Act), will be effected when treasury issues the midterm budget review statement later in the year.

The misconception, which led some quarters into concluding that Government was reneging on President Mnangagwa's "Zimbabwe is Open for Business" mantra, came about when Government gazetted the Finance (No 2) Act, 2020 (section 36).

The amendment appeared to have caused a misconception among investors and stakeholders who thought the Government had brought back the 51 percent local ownership threshold for the mining sector.

The misconception has even persisted despite Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube, issuing a statement earlier in the month clarifying Government position that the sector was open for investors regardless of their nationalities.

Minister Ncube even highlighted that Government will delete the insertion that caused the misconception in a bid to enhance certainty and consistent with Government policy.

To further buttress Government position, Finance and Economic Development Deputy Minister Clemence Chiduwa, said the legal effect to this will be effected when Minister Ncube presents the midterm budget review statement later in the year.

Minister Chiduwa's clarification comes amid concerns from stakeholders who had thought that Government will issue a Statutory Instrument (SI) to effect the deletion promised by Minister Ncube.

"The Honourable Minister (Mthuli Ncube) noted the misconception that was created by the amendment thus the reason of the press statement he issued earlier this month," said Deputy Minister Chiduwa.

"But the deletion which he alluded to is not going to be done through an SI, because whatever was said was coming from the Finance Act and you cannot amend the Finance Act via an SI, it can only be amended when we present the midterm review.

"But for emphasis' sake please note that the 51 percent no longer applies to all the minerals that are currently being mined in the country.

"It's a policy position that is in sync and is informed by His Excellency's 'Zimbabwe is open for Business' mantra which seeks to foster investment in the sector," said the Deputy Minister.

The mining sector and agriculture are the key cornerstones with which Government expects to foster investment and production for economic growth towards an upper middle income economy by 2030.

Since President Mnangagwa's assumption of office in 2017, mining has registered billions worthy of investment and the key lure to this has been the opening up of the sector under the "Zimbabwe is open for business".

It is against this background that the President has to date set the sector a 2023 milestone through which mining exports are expected to jump from US$2,7 billion achieved in 2017 to US$12 billion.

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