In an endeavour to ensure the growth and development of the semi precious and gemstones sector, the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) has requested for the liberalisation of sector.
Through a letter submitted to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development Mr Pfungwa Kunaka, ZMF’s Secretary for semi precious and coloured gemstones Mr Privelage Chinembiri Moyo the country was failing to compete on the global stage as a source and supplier of semi-precious
and gemstones due to various bottlenecks which includes lack of policy framework, intertwined bottlenecks, inconsistences, very long export process, lack of modified financial laws regarding USD cash purchases (CD1 requirement) among others.
Currently the semi-precious and gemstones sector is enshrined in the Mines and Minerals Act, MMCZ Act and SI 256 of2019 though it is not defined nor classified or specified as it’s included as minerals or al minerals as per MMCZ Act.
ZMF through Mr Moyo said their request is focused on the sectors’ growth as well as to promote participation of many stakehoders and industry players being miners, traders, communities, both genders, jewelers and buyers.
Mr Moyo said the sector is operating under the shadow of many minerals hence it needs to be defined and simplified under the vision of his excellence of promoting the ease of doing business.
“The target of our request is to bring the sector to its glory of being a foreign currency earner whose contributions to the revenue generation can be anywhere closer to a billion dollars. World over the sector is promoted by communities where most ofthe product minerals are found.
” Whereas in Zimbabwe most are found in farming areas like clear quartz, tourmaines, aquamarine, agates,kyanite, RoseQuartz, topaz, cat’s-eye, sphene, Amethysts etc.
“Our proposal for the sector’s liberalization is as follows:
i.Allow the trading of semiprecious and gemstones locally and within our borders without any restrictions such that we may compete with other growing nations like DUBAI whose laws are liberalizedto promote industrial growth.
ii.Our vision is to see the opening up of many traders in and outside our sites as wel as to encourage companies to diversify into trading of the sectors products.
iii. Allow opening up ofsemi-precious and gemstones trading centers within areas where the stones are being mined, extracted or being found. These centres will allow whoever found stones to come and trade at their centres which will be controlled by various stakehoders. E.gRDCs,ZRP, MMCZ, Ministry of Mines, ZMF Banks, ZIMRA, etc. Ideally, we wish to emulate the Mbare Musika concept whereby farmers of various sizes bring their produce to the market for trading therebycreating a one stop shop.
v.The openedup centres will be able to collect data regarding the stones coming in to the centres and those being sold, collect taxes, levies, and royalties.
v.The centres will issue receipts and invoices for any purchases from the centres which will be used to track the source of origin as well as for export, inter province movement and border exit.
vi.Centres will allow foreign buyers to hunt for theirpreferred stones only from centres unlike currentlywhereby they hunt stones in communities resulting in undercutting the
supplier due to wasted time searching for specific stones.
vii.We also welcome the subagent introduction under SI256 of 2019 though we propose it to be more simplified for growth.
viii. Holders of subagents’licences should search for stones from trading centres and promote exports as a requirement. Foreign buyers must approach the subagent holders for their requirements as they will be able to export the stones in a very short period of time not more than 3 days as they will be working hand in glove with most government institutions.
ix. In Zambia, expiry of the semi-precious and gemstones have a turnaround time of not more than 48 hours and the following are the departments involved, Zambian police for a letter to confirm source of origin, Zambian revenues authority for evaluation, tax and royalties,ministry of mines for an export permit.
x.In Malawi an export process is done within one hour while in Zimbabwe can go as far as upto 4 months involving more than20 visits to various office departments.
“We hope with our request and thrust to promote the ease of doing business,you may allow a threshold amount to benchmark export permits which may be issued at MMCZ offices for our semiprecious and gemstones sector.
“In light of the above, we are sure Zimbabwewill experience an influx of buyers as we are currently losing them to our neighboring countriesdue to delays in exports and inconsistences. Also, the above will contain the illicit flows of revenue and our stones which are being traded illegal and exported illegally,” Mr Moyo said.