Zim sit­ting on $9 bil­lion ivory

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News/worldwide - Harare Bureau

Zim­babwe is sit­ting on more than $9 bil­lion worth of ivory, an amount that can turn around the for­tunes of the coun­try should a ban on ivory sale be lifted, Par­lia­ment heard yes­ter­day.

En­vi­ron­ment, Wa­ter and Cli­mate Min­is­ter Op­pah Muchin­guri said Sadc was de­ter­mined to lobby for the ban im­posed by Con­ven­tion on In­ter­na­tional Trade in En­dan­gered Species, a global en­vi­ron­men­tal move­ment so that the re­gion could un­lock value to its nat­u­ral re­sources.

Min­is­ter Muchin­guri was re­spond­ing to a ques­tion in the Na­tional Assem­bly dur­ing the ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion.

“We have 96 tonnes of ivory and if we sell it, we will re­alise about $9,1 bil­lion,” said Min­is­ter Muchin­guri.

She said the Euro­pean Union had re­mained adamant in seek­ing to main­tain the ban de­spite the fact that the Western bloc did not have ivory, but the Sadc re­gion would con­tinue to lobby the lift­ing of the ban in their CITES meet­ings.

She im­plored fel­low leg­is­la­tors to lobby for the lift­ing of the ban each time they at­tend in­ter­na­tional meet­ings.

Re­spond­ing to a re­lated ques­tion, Fi­nance and Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Pa­trick Chi­na­masa said the $9 bil­lion was able to liq­ui­date the coun­try’s debt and un­lock sev­eral fa­cil­i­ties.

“This is the para­dox of Africa. There is a pol­icy that did not come from Africa. This is food for thought for all of us be­cause we are be­ing stopped from dis­pos­ing our ivory. Africa is rich but it has poor Africans. Our obli­ga­tion as Africa is to in­ter­ro­gate why we are poor when we have th­ese riches. I did not even know that we are sit­ting on $9 bil­lion worth of ivory, even if it is $5bil­lion,” said Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa.

Re­spond­ing to an­other ques­tion, Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa said the cash cri­sis that af­fected the coun­try was a bless­ing in dis­guise in that it helped the Gov­ern­ment to be in­no­va­tive through use of plas­tic money.

“The cash cri­sis has been good in some re­spects. It was God-sent. It has given us an op­por­tu­nity to move away from cash based sit­u­a­tion. Even when a per­son wants to buy a house or a car he would move around with a brief­case with cash,” said Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa.

He said the $200 mil­lion fa­cil­ity from Afrex­im­bank in which pro­posed bond notes would be in­tro­duced in Oc­to­ber was not a loan but a guar­an­tee.

Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa said Gov­ern­ment would en­sure that point of sale fa­cil­i­ties were in­stalled was ac­ti­vated in sev­eral busi­nesses in­clud­ing Gov­ern­ment min­istries and de­part­ments.

Min­is­ter Pa­trick Chi­na­masa

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