ZMF requests for the liberalisation of the semi-precious & gemstone sector

In an endeavour to ensure the growth and development of…

In an endeavour to ensure the growth and development of the semi-precious and gemstones sector, the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) has requested for the liberalisation of the sector.

In a letter submitted to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development Mr Pfungwa Kunaka, ZMF’s Secretary for semi-precious and coloured gemstones Mr Privelage Chinembiri Moyo said the country was failing to compete on the global stage as a source and supplier of semi-precious and gemstones due to various bottlenecks which include the lack of a policy framework, intertwined bottlenecks, inconsistencies, very long export process, lack of modified financial laws regarding USD cash purchases (CD1 requirement) among others.

ZMF through Moyo said their request is focused on the sectors’ growth as well as on promoting the participation of many stakeholders and industry players being miners, traders, communities, both genders, jewellers and buyers.

Moyo said the sector is operating under the shadow of many minerals hence it needs to be defined and simplified under the vision of his excellence of promoting the ease of doing business.

“The target of our request is to bring the sector to its glory of being a foreign currency earner whose contributions to the revenue generation can be anywhere closer to a billion dollars. The world over the sector is promoted by communities where most of the product minerals are found.

“Whereas in Zimbabwe most are found in farming areas like clear quartz, tourmalines, aquamarine, agates, kyanite, rose quartz, topaz, cat’s-eye, sphene, Amethysts etc.

“Our proposal for the sector’s liberalization is as follows:

i. Allow the trading of semiprecious and gemstones locally and within our borders without any restrictions such that we may compete with other growing nations like DUBAI whose laws are liberalized to promote industrial growth.

ii. Our vision is to see the opening up of many traders in and outside our cities as well as to encourage companies to diversify into trading of the sector’s products.

iii. Allow the opening up of semi-precious and gemstone trading centres within areas where the stones are being mined, extracted or found. These centres will allow whoever found stones to come and trade at their centres which will be controlled by various stakeholders. E.g. RDCs, ZRP, MMCZ, Ministry of Mines, ZMF Banks, ZIMRA, etc. Ideally, we wish to emulate the Mbare Musika concept whereby farmers of various sizes bring their produce to the market for trading thereby creating a one-stop shop.

iv. The opened-up centres will be able to collect data regarding the stones coming into the centres and those being sold and collect taxes, levies, and royalties.

v. The centres will issue receipts and invoices for any purchases from the centres which will be used to track the source of origin as well as for export, inter-province movement and border exit.

vi. Centres will allow foreign buyers to hunt for their preferred stones only from centres unlike currently whereby they hunt stones in communities resulting in undercutting the supplier due to wasted time searching for specific stones.

vii. We also welcome the subagent introduction under SI256 of 2019 though we propose it to be more simplified for growth.

viii. Holders of subagents’ licences should search for stones from trading centres and promote exports as a requirement. Foreign buyers must approach the subagent holders for their requirements as they will be able to export the stones in a very short period of time not more than 3 days as they will be working hand in glove with most government institutions.

See Also

Pfungwa Kunaka

ix. In Zambia, the exports of semi-precious and gemstones have a turnaround time of not more than 48 hours and the following are the departments involved, Zambian police for a letter to confirm source of origin, Zambian revenues authority for evaluation, tax and royalties, ministry of mines for an export permit.

x. In Malawi an export process is done within one hour while in Zimbabwe can go as far as up to 4 months involving more than 20 visits to various office departments.

“We hope with our request and thrust to promote the ease of doing business, you may allow a threshold amount to benchmark export permits which may be issued at MMCZ offices for our semiprecious and gemstones sector.

“We wish the Ministry of Mines to reintroduce the exemption from compliance permit for the semi-precious and gemstones sector as it was in existence before.

‘This permit will allow our buyers and traders to harness the ease of doing business as all the stones which fit in handbags and carry bags will have a formal export process.

“This will do away with the current bureaucratic process which takes more than 3 months for a simple export to be done also it will be a welcome move for samples to be exported easily.

“In light of the above, we are sure Zimbabwe will experience an influx of buyers as we are currently losing them to our neighbouring countries due to delays in exports and inconsistencies. Also, the above will contain the illicit flows of revenue and our stones which are being traded illegally and exported illegally,” Moyo said.

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