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Zimbabwe: Minister’s silence on EITI raise fears that policy no longer on govt. radar

Author: Bulawayo 24 (Zimbabwe) , Published on: 28 July 2020

‘Lawyers worry over Mthuli Ncube silence’ 23 July 2020

The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela) has noted with concern the silence of the mid-term budget and economic review on the extractive industries transparency initiative (EITI) adoption progress, raising fears that the initiative might be off the country's mining governance policy radar. EITI is a progressive initiative in the advancement of open and accountable management of the extractive industry.  In its mid-term budget and economic review analysis, Zela said the government continues to speak about transparency and accountability in the mining sector, but with no tangible actions on the ground as well as a framework to guide this.

…Zela said the 2020 national budget, however, only gave a light reference to the continued multistakeholder discussions on joining EITI. "Zela did not lose hope because of the light touch that the government did on EITI during the 2020 national budget. What was important was that the government had at least maintained the EITI narrative in its 2019/2020 national budget," it said. However, when presenting his mid-term budget and economic review last Thursday, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube remained mum on the EITI issue.

…The environmental lawyers said the development raised speculation that probably "it's out of fear that the standard would expose the rot and corruption in the mining sector, and this could be detrimental to the military and politicians holding government positions who have been alleged to be involved heavily in mineral exploration." "There is a huge possibility that the government might not want to adopt EITI because it is afraid that it will expose the corruption and mining revenue mismanagement by political elites," Zela said. However, it said all hope was not lost on the mining transparency policy front, with the government committing to improve transparency in the mining sector, something that resonates with the country's 2013 Constitution on public finance management principles.

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