Zimbabwe Government Must Push Through Diamond Act, Says Lobbyist

Zimbabwe's government must take urgent action to create a Diamond Act to enable transparent management of the country's diamond sector, said Shamiso Mtisi, a mining lobbyist with the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association.

Legislation will provide clarity regarding the regulations, policies and institutions governing the sector, he said.

"Talk over the Diamond Act has been going on in the last three years with nothing concrete on the table," he says in comments cited by The Herald newspaper. "We want the government to formulate the Act as a matter of urgency to facilitate the monitoring of diamond processes such as extraction, receipting, evaluation, grading, polishing, auctioning and processing of export customs documents.

"We want our legislators to finalise the Diamond Act in this session [of parliament] to address problems related to leakages, corruption, contract negotiations, control, marketing, distribution and export of diamonds in a manner which also addresses the underlying or root causes of poor economic performance and revenue inflows."

Mining experts from a range of bodies gathered recently to debate issues related to the mining sector. The meeting focused on mining taxation, and the distribution of revenues from mining and how it can be used to reduce poverty.

"Under the diamond policy adopted by the government, there is a proposal to develop the Diamond Act. We want this to be fulfilled in this current session before we go to the elections. President Mugabe and Finance Minister Tendai Biti have repeatedly made calls for the speedy formulation of the Diamond Act in the past and parliament should now move with speed to finalize this Act," says Mtisi.

Mtisi, together with Tafadzwa Musarara, who are Kimberley Process (KP) Civil Society Coalition representatives in Zimbabwe, will debate the subject Diamonds, Engine of Local Beneficiation with Godwills Masimirembwa, Chairman of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, and Abbey Chikane, KP Monitor for Zimbabwe, on the second day of the November 12-13 Zimbabwe Diamond Conference 2012.