BY VANESSA GONYE
ZIMBABWE should join the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) to promote transparency and accountability to stop the looting of the country’s mineral resources.
The EITI is a global standard for the good governance of oil, gas and mineral resources.
In 2019, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube announced that the country would join EITI.
However, to date the country has not joined the EITI.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (Zela) called on government to join EITI.
“Joining EITI will enable civic society organisations (CSOs) to track transparency and accountability in the management of Zimbabwe’s mineral resources,” read the Zela statement.
EITI seeks to strengthen public and corporate governance, promote understanding of natural resource management, and provide data to inform reforms for greater transparency and accountability in the extractives sector.
In each of the 51 implementing countries, of which Zimbabwe is not among them, EITI is supported by a coalition of government, companies, and civil society.
Zela also applauded the listing of Caledonia Mining Corporation on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange, which it said has been consistent on disclosure of its financial reports, which is critical for transparency.
“The listing of Caledonia Mining Corporation is commendable as it provides an opportunity, not only to improve foreign direct investment inflows into the mining sector and buttress the country’s US$12 billion mining industry, but also enhances private-led corporate accountability in the sector through environmental, social and governance reporting,” it said.
“The release of Caledonia’s 2020 ESG report and the subsequent move to officially list on the VFEX should be a window to amply the ‘publish what you pay Zimbabwe coalition and mining communities’ work on mineral revenue transparency since at national level the country has not yet adopted any mineral revenue transparency or responsible sourcing framework,” they said.
Caledonia Mining Corporation owns Blanket Mine in Gwanda.
A 2019 report by the International Crisis Group estimates that the country is losing around US$1,5 billion a year through smuggling of gold, mainly to Dubai and other countries.