The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), a public law organization that seeks to promote environmental justice, sustainable and equitable use of natural resources, democracy and good governance in the natural resources and environment sector would like to commend the Government of Zimbabwe’s proposal to adopt the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in the 2019 National Budget. This is one of the National Budget’s great call in unleashing the potential of the natural resources sector to contribute to economic economic development while strengthening mineral resources governance in the country. The EITI is one of the well-known mineral resources governance frameworks globally and Civil Society Organisations like ZELA and the Publish What You Pay Coalition Zimbabwe Chapter have been calling for the Zimbabwe Government to adopt it.
It must be noted that in July 2010, the then Minister of Finance and Economic Development made recommendations in the Mid-term Fiscal Policy Statement that the country should consider joining the EITI. There were references to the EITI in subsequent National Budget Statements but the initiative never took off. Notably, policy conversations on EITI had disappeared from National Budget Statements for 2016 up to 2018.During the 2019 National Budget consultations, ZELA stressed the need for Government to ensure that the budget embraces the EITI or alternatively revive the Zimbabwe Mineral Revenue Transparency Initiative (ZMRTI)-a home grown version of EITI which failed to take off in 2011.Commendably, the 2019 National Budget Statement calls for Government to urgently adopt the EITI.
In his budget presentation, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Honourable Professor Mthuli Ncube noted that in order to move along with international best practices of achieving transparency in the management of natural resources, Government would want to be a member of the EITI as soon as possible. Since 2010, ZELA has been making deafening calls for the adoption of EITI, a progressive move in improving mineral resource revenue management and enhancing greater transparency and accountability in the extractives sector. The organisation has been able to raise awareness amongst communities on issues such as EITI and the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) campaign which calls on governments and mining companies to disclose mining contracts.
The move by Zimbabwe to adopt EITI resonates well with the aim of the Africa Mining Vision(AMV) that seeks to promote transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of mineral resources to underpin broad based sustainable growth and socio-economic development. According to AMV, in promoting natural resources, African governments must mainstream EITI principles in national policies, laws, and regulations. ZELA is of the view that, if properly managed natural resources in the country can be beneficial to its citizens. Mineral resources are an important source of state revenues and a valuable asset for sustaining growth, reducing poverty and achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).Mineral resource revenue can also facilitate the realisation of Zimbabwe’s 2030 Vision of achieving an Upper Middle Income Economy status.
To that end , well done Professor Mthuli and the Government of Zimbabwe. The announcement in the National Budget Statement was the first step and now we await the next concrete steps to help operationalise EITI especially with the EITI Global Conference happening in June. ZELA stands ready to provide technical support and assistance to the Ministry of Finance and the Government of Zimbabwe on the implementation of the EITI.
“Environmental justice through sustainable and equitable utilisation of natural resources and environmental protection”