Miners lobby for reprieve

Source: Miners lobby for reprieve | The Herald

Miners lobby for reprieve
Isaac Kwesu

Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
Mining firms are preparing a set of proposed interventions by Government that will allow a fiscal and tax reprieve as well as unhindered operation of most mining entities and essential service suppliers in the sector.

This comes after some mines cut production or were put under care and maintenance while essential service suppliers were not allowed to operate freely as part of lockdown conditions following the global outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Most sectors of the Zimbabwean economy and society at large remain under Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, extended to May 3, 2020 after the initial 21-day lockdown period that expired on April 19, was extended by a further two weeks.

As such, Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe (CoMZ) chief executive Isaac Kwesu, said they were preparing proposals to be submitted to Government.

The strategy document covers short to medium term interventions as well as post lockdown measures and plans well after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Economies across the world expect negative growth to depths last seen during and soon after World War Two, including world’s second largest economy, China, which had registered exponential growth for over four decades.

Among most other sectors affected by national lockdowns worldwide, which has cut and disrupted supply and value chains, is Zimbabwe’s mining industry.

“In the medium term, the majority may find it tough to expand production, even those who may have temporarily shutdown their operations need capital, so there should be some form of support or reprieve in terms of fiscal and tax issues to ensure they come back into production.

“Those mines in production, but operating below capacity need to unlock cashflows and so need (fiscal or tax) support measures,” Mr Kwesu said in an interview.

“Specifically, (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe unit) Fidelity Printers and Refiners must be able to receive deliveries and sell gold; that is almost immediate because (mines) need working capital,” Mr Kwesu said.

Mining firms, through their association, also want Government to allow all essential service suppliers and contractors to almost immediately be allowed to resume uninterrupted operations provided sufficient prevention measures are in place.

“We are engaging Government, through the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to ensure that all essential service suppliers to mining will continue to operate uninterrupted because when you produce you need inputs, you need contractors; you cannot work own your own,” he said.