Key Resolutions from ZELA’s Parliament Expert Training on Transparency and Accountability
27 November 2020
The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) organised a two- day expert training for parliamentarians from the 24th to the 25th of November 2020 in Kwekwe. The training focused on building the capacity of parliamentarians on the promotion of transparency and accountability in the mining sector. Five parliamentary portfolio committees namely; Mines, Energy, Environment, Transport and Infrastructure, Budgets, Finance and Economic Development participated in the training. The expert training was conceived from the background that Zimbabwe’ social and economic recovery path is mainly dependent on the performance of the mining sector. However, the sector has proven to deliver less on domestic resource mobilisation and sustainable development due to several factors including Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) and gaps in the country’s mining fiscal regime, lack of transparency and accountability.
In line with ZELA’s Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in the Natural Resource Sector Through Citizen Action and Parliament Oversight (STACAP) project, a series of expert training sessions for parliamentarians are expected to improve the capacity of Members of Parliament to play their oversight, legislative and representative role over the Executive’s actions for improved mining sector legislative and policy framework. Several topics were covered during the Kwekwe training and these include:
- Overview of the mining sector, 12 Billion mining economy and the new mining projects;
- Role of Parliament in promoting transparency and accountability in the mining sector;
- Corruption, risks and vulnerabilities in the mining sector;
- Implications of the Constitutional Amendment Bill Number 2 on transparency and accountability in the mining sector;
- Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill (MMAB): Opportunities for mining sector development;
- Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs), Mining Fiscal Regime and Taxation Aspects;
- Role of Parliament in contract negotiation, review and performance monitoring;
- Overview of the International Legal and Policy Frameworks for the Extractive Sector.
Key Resolutions and Action Points from the Deliberations
- The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development will invite the Ministry of Mines to Parliament to explain the USD12 billion target and share information on current production levels in the mining sector. Parliament and CSOs such as ZELA have an opportunity to develop questions for interrogating the USD12 billion target for each mineral.
- Parliament and CSOs to develop a tracking tool of new mining projects and their targets towards the achievement of the USD12 billion target.
- Parliament should develop innovative strategies towards accessing mining agreements held by private mining companies in order to hold them accountable for their operations in the country.
- Parliamentarians present made a resolution to invite the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and seek clarifications on mining projects’ compliance with Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA).
- Parliament will invite Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to explain how the Mining policy which is currently at draft stage is incorporating the tenets or principles of the African Mining Vision (AMV).
- The All Stakeholder Workshop on the Mines and Mineral Amendment Bill should foster a comprehensive dialogue on the challenges the mining sector is facing and how these challenges can be addressed by the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill (MMAB).
- Parliament will interrogate more on institutional mechanisms available to respond to mining accidents and explore possibilities of setting up of a mining accidents response task force with its own machinery to work collaboratively with the Civil Protection Unit (CPU).
- Parliament will request from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, statistics of closed mines which were then resuscitated in 2019 and 2020 towards achieving the USD12 billion target.
- Parliament to request a list of mining disputes resolved each year as a monitoring strategy on ramping up production in the mining sector.
- The Parliamentary Portfolio Committees on Mines and Mining Development and Environment, Water and Climate proposed to conduct an enquiry on river-bed mining to assess its socio-economic and environmental impact to the country.
- The Parliamentary Committees on Mines and Mining Development and Budget, Finance and Economic Development to interrogate the taxation system and contract performance monitoring in the mining sector, in order to curb illicit financial flows from the sector.
- Parliament will continue to investigate the benefits of adopting the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) as a way of promoting transparency and accountability in the mining sector
- Parliamentarians present made a resolution to foster a robust debate on Clause 23 of the Constitutional Amendment Bill Number 2 that purports to put beyond parliamentary scrutiny on mining related financing agreements or loans between Zimbabwe and foreign credit banks or other financial entities.
- Parliament will advocate for the establishment of Mining Accidents Responsive Taskforce
- CSOs together with Parliament should carry out a pilot project to collect data to determine the number of disused mines in a bid to curb mining related accidents in these mines.
- All mines should adopt International Safety Standards for example ISO 45001 on Occupational Safety and Health.
- CSOs should spearhead mining safety awareness and education campaigns.
- A concerted effort is needed by all stakeholders to formalize all artisanal and small-scale miners in Zimbabwe. This will enable this sector to operate within the confines of the law including protecting the environment and observing health and safety standards.