Tinashe Makichi Business Reporter—
GOVERNMENT has significantly reduced ground rental annual fees for diamonds to $225 per hectare from $3 000. The reduction is in line with Government’s ease of doing business reforms to facilitate investment in the diamond sector. Mines and Mining Development Minister Winstone Chitando had recently indicated that the Government was going to come up with Statutory Instrument 4 of 2018 to reduce ground rental fees.
In a statement yesterday, the ministry however said rentals for other minerals remain unchaged. “The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development wishes to advise that the ground rental fees for diamonds have been reduced from $3 000 per hectare per year down to $225 per hectare per year.
“This has been done in the context of the ease of doing business to facilitate investment in the diamond mining industry,” reads the statement. The coming in of SI 4 of 2018 has removed uncertainty, duplication and ambiguity that was causing confusion in the mining sector ground rentals or inspection fees arising from the different interpretations of Statutory Instrument 10 of 2016.
Nonetheless, the effect of SI 4 of 2018 is that miners will be required to pay more in respect of mining blocks. “Government is, therefore, currently reviewing the affected fees and an appropriate statement will be issued within next 30 days,” reads the statement.
Buoyed by the achievements from the initial phases of the ease of doing business reforms, Government has widened the scope of the reforms to cover various sectors such as tourism and enablers like local authorities, road freight and passenger transport and the export sectors. Furthermore, in pursuit of the Sectoral Approach strategy, Government has expanded the reforms to cover the manufacturing, mining, agriculture and investment sectors.
It has become critical that the mining sector should have a regulatory environment which ensures that it contributes maximum value to the country and communities. Currently, the mining sector is governed by an antiquated Mines and Minerals Act dating back to 1961.
Efforts to come up with a new regulatory environment have been going on since 2007. Experts say the success of the reforms should be heavily underpinned by the review of the Mines and Minerals Act (1961). The Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill has provisions which are in sync with Government’s thrust of improving productivity, value addition and beneficiation in the mining sector.
Article Source: The Herald