Diamonds should sparkle in fight against inequality
With roughly $15 billion allegedly lost from Marange diamonds, the opportunity to fight inequality through domestic resource mobilisation was possible squandered. All is not lost though. This undesirable situation can be reversed in the quest to fight inequality. Government, therefore, must immediately adopt the following measures to ensure that diamonds champion the fight against inequality in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) must give 10% equity to Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust (CSOT). This will legally empower the community to get a share of profit from diamond mining activities in Marange. The softened indigenisation and economic empowerment framework still requires diamond and platinum sectors to cede 10% equity to host communities.
To fully exploit diamonds in Marange in a manner that promote community access, ownership and control of resources, ZCDC must move with speed to formalise artisanal diamond mining activities. “Indeed, there was greater economic impact from diamonds during times of uncontrolled alluvial panning than what is being realised following introduction of formal diamond mining arrangements” former Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, 2016 National Budget Statement. Formalising artisanal diamond mining resonates well with Washington Declaration on Integrating Development of Artisanal and Small Scale Diamond Mining with Kimberley Process Implementation Kimberly Process (KP)
ZCDC must disclose payments made to different government institutions like Mutare Rural District Council (MRDC), various taxes paid to Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and Ministry of Mines. This disclosure will help the public to connect the dots between diamond mining activities and mobilisation of tax revenue to fund social service delivery. The Constitution, Section 276 (2) (b) empowers local authorities to mobilise resources from economic activities to fund local service delivery. By disclosing tax contribution to Mutare RDC, ZCDC can acquit itself well on how the entity is contributing to local development rather than glossing its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. All in all, government must embrace move with speed to implement the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).
Former companies linked with looting of Marange diamonds should not be allowed back. We have noted with concern activities on claims formerly owned by Anjin that the Chinese and military owned outfit is preparing to come back. Notably, the Auditor General raised a red flag that Anjin failed to produce audited financial statements to verify depletion taxes paid to government.