March 25, 2021

Zimbabwe urged to fully unlock the potential of EPOs

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Donald Mandizvidza

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development, Edmond Mkaratigwa says Export Processing Orders (EPOs), are critical to achieving a multi-billion-dollar industry by 2023.

Mr Mkaratigwa was speaking during a ZTN virtual discussion on EPOs and their potential to unlock new opportunities for the mining sector.

He urged Government to consider joining the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), the global standard which promotes the open and accountable management of minerals.

“Joining the EITI will promote good mineral resource governance and accountability. It will also help in accessing international markets and capital,” he said.

The same sentiments were echoed by Zimbabwe Miners Federation CEO, Wellington Takavarasha who welcomed the Government’s decision to issue EPOs after almost two decades, but reiterated the need for accountability and transparency to plug illicit financial deals and leakages in the mining sector.

Speaking on the same platform, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) said despite the importance of EPOs to the mining industry and the economy at large, Government should exercise due diligence and monitor the activities of licence holders.

ZELA Programmes Manager, Nyaradzo Mutonhori called on Government to grant more licences to women and also come up with a community benefits scheme model which results in a win-win situation. ZELA Legal Officer, Michelle Matsvaire said Government should not focus on extraction only but also look at sustainable development.

The Government of Zimbabwe recently issued 25 Exclusive Prospecting Orders (EPOs) as part of its October 2019 blueprint, launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, to grow the mining sector into a 12 Billion-Dollar industry by 2023.

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