ZMF pushes for 100pc forex pay­ment

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

THE Zim­babwe Min­ers Fed­er­a­tion (ZMF) is en­gag­ing the Gov­ern­ment to con­sider wholly pay­ing min­ers in for­eign cur­rency for the gold de­liv­ered at Fidelity Print­ers and Re­fin­ers (FPR) so as to en­hance pro­duc­tion as well as avert leak­ages of the min­eral.

Ad­dress­ing cus­tom millers and small-scale min­ers at a meeting in Bu­l­awayo last Fri­day, ZMF pres­i­dent Ms Hen­ri­etta Rush­waya said there was a need for the Gov­ern­ment to con­sider pay­ing small-scale min­ers 100 per­cent in for­eign cur­rency for the gold de­liv­ered at the coun­try’s sole gold buyer and ex­porter to curb il­le­gal mar­ket­ing of the yellow metal.

“We have ac­tu­ally en­gaged Fidelity and we still await their feed­back as far as our re­quest is con­cerned. Our re­quest was purely based on the un­der­stand­ing that there is a lot of gold leak­age, which could be not out of our own sec­tors’ mak­ing but which is cur­rently caused by the eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try,” she said.

FPR is li­censed to buy gold from large-scale pro­duc­ers, small-scale pro­duc­ers and hold­ers of gold buy­ing per­mits. Cur­rently the com­pany is pay­ing small-scale min­ers 70 per­cent of the total that is due in United States dol­lars and 30 per­cent in bond notes as a bank trans­fer. Prior to this ar­range­ment reached last year, smallscale min­ers used to re­ceive 100 per­cent cash (US dol­lars) upon de­liv­ery of the metal to FPR. Ms Rush­waya said fail­ure to in­cen­tivise gold min­ers would fuel smug­gling of gold from Zim­babwe to coun­tries like South Africa cit­ing that the coun­try was los­ing about 70 per­cent of the min­eral through il­licit trading.

“We are say­ing to Fidelity, can you kindly re­dress the is­sue be­fore it gets too late and at the mo­ment we have started en­coun­ter­ing nose div­ing pro­duc­tion, it be­comes a cause for concern, not nec­es­sar­ily for the in­dus­try it­self but for the na­tion at large. This will af­fect the pur­chas­ing of fuel, drugs, in ac­tual fact it will af­fect the pur­chas­ing of all the req­ui­site pri­or­ity ar­eas that the Gov­ern­ment had started look­ing into es­pe­cially given the back­ground that there is for­eign cur­rency short­ages in the coun­try,” she said.

Ms Rush­waya said ZMF was also con­cerned about the clo­sure of nu­mer­ous gold milling cen­tres through­out the coun­try.

The min­istry is crack­ing down on milling cen­tres sus­pected of un­der­hand deal­ings rang­ing from pro­duc­tion un­der dec­la­ra­tions and wan­ton dis­re­gard of ba­sic tenets of safety.

“To­day’s meeting was specif­i­cally to meet with cus­tom millers in this (Mata­bele­land) re­gion in an ef­fort to see if we can strike a bal­ance with the Gov­ern­ment per­tain­ing to chal­lenges be­falling the in­dus­try no­tably those of clo­sure of their cen­tres whether know­ingly or un­know­ingly . . . The other is­sue was the is­sue to do with the mush­room­ing of ham­mer mills and that has neg­a­tively af­fected their (cus­tom millers) op­er­a­tions. Ham­mer mill op­er­a­tors are not declar­ing their prof­its to Fidelity and un­der such cir­cum­stances the cus­tom millers are short changed con­sid­er­ing that they are li­censed,” said Ms Rush­waya.

A cus­tom milling li­cence costs $5 000 per year.

@DNsingo

Ms Hen­ri­etta Rush­waya

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