Parliament moots road tax for miners

Source: Parliament moots road tax for miners – Sunday News Jan 29, 2017

Roberta Katunga, Senior Business Reporter
MINING houses around the country should be levied a road rehabilitation tax to raise money to maintain and construct roads in the areas within their purviews.

Speaking to Sunday Business, Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructure chairman Dexter Nduna pre-emptied the committee’s proposal saying mines were getting what they can in terms of resources and canning what they can at the expense of the roads in their areas hence the need to levy them.

Nduna said the proposed road rehabilitation fund should be part of the mining tax that Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced.

“Part of the mining tax should be directed towards a road rehabilitation fund from the mining houses and multi nationals so that they can resuscitate and reconstruct the roads that are within their purviews which they use on a day to day basis while moving the resources they are extracting from the mines,” said Nduna.

Outlining some of the mines and areas whose roads require reconstruction, Nduna mentioned Renco Mine in Nyajena in Masvingo area, RioZim in Chegutu and Kadoma as well as granite miners in Mutoko and ACR in Marange and Zimplats as well as WK Mining and Makomo Resources in Hwange. He said some of the roads connecting these mines were now an eye sore and in a bad state, causing road carnages. Some, he added, were no longer passable.

However, Zimbabwe Miners Federation chief executive officer Mr Wellington Takavarasha said miners were already overburdened with taxes and thus cannot afford more. He said the problem was that people believe mining has money and yet the miners are also struggling.

“If such a tax is proposed, it will be a burden to us as miners. The Government is already benefiting from the foreign currency generated from mining proceeds and through Corporate Social Responsibility programmes in our purviews, miners are actually taking care of the roads they use,” said Mr Takavarasha.

Efforts to get a comment from the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe were fruitless. Meanwhile, Nduna said the committee will be conducting a tour of Matabeleland North particularly Bubi District where a road tax initiative has been put in place by the local authority.

“We are aware of the degradation of the road infrastructure in that area especially due to the incessant rains. What needs to obtain is the issue of utilising monies derived from road user fees for road reconstruction and rehabilitation. A case in point will be parking fees in local authorities, they are being used for all other issues except road rehabilitation and the billboard fees need to be remitted for reconstruction of roads,” he said.

He urged all local players that include farmers, miners and the local authorities as well as the conservancy owners in the region to be part of the programme and contribute to infrastructure development.