via Govt to curb diamond cash leakages – DailyNews Live by Eric Chiriga 20 DECEMBER 2013
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday introduced a raft of measures targeted at improving accountability and transparency in the handling of diamond revenue.
This is on the back concerns over the remittance of diamonds proceeds to Treasury.
Under his proposed “revenue sharing model”, the Treasury chief said government would charge a 15 percent royalty fee on gross diamond sales.
Chinamasa said government would also levy a 2,5 percent depletion fee on gross sales of gems.
“This revenue will no longer be remitted to Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) but directly to Treasury,” he said.
“There is need to enhance transparency to ensure that revenue flows from these resources contribute meaningfully to the country’s economic reform and development agenda.”
He said the need to minimise leakages in the exploitation of mineral resources saw government ordering the stationing of Zimra officers at selected mining locations.
“…a joint task force comprising of ministries of Mines and Mining Development and Finance and Economic Development, together with tax collector Zimbabwe Revenue Authority has been set up,” Chinamasa said, adding that “transparency would be enhanced by the presentation to Parliament, and publication, by early 2014, of the 2012 audited financial accounts of ZMDC.”
This comes as Chinamasa recently said Treasury did not receive any proceeds from diamond revenue in the nine months to September 2013.
Following the lifting of trade restrictions on gems, a week ago the country auctioned 500 000 diamond carats in Antwerp, Belgium, estimated to fetch around $37 million.
In November, Chinamasa told parliamentarians in Victoria Falls at a 2013 pre-budget seminar that out of a targeted $40 million expected from diamond sales, nothing had been received.
According to Global Witness, an international non-governmental organisation, about $2 billion in diamond revenues had been unaccounted for since 2008.
Chinamasa said there were eight miners operating in the diamond rich Manicaland-based Chiadzwa fields.
He said government was a partner in seven of them while it owned 100 percent of the eighth venture.