RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has announced that gold deliveries in the year 2022 increased by a record 19% to 35 tonnes amid concerns that the government’s Gold Incentives Scheme (GIS) was largely benefitting politically connected persons, mainly President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s close ally Pedzisayi “Scott” Sakupwanya — a Zanu PF councillor.
Sakupwanya and his Better Brands Jewellery (BBJ) company pocketed US$460 million in revenues in 2021 alone at the expense of artisanal and small-scale miners.
While Sakupwanya is minting money through gold, artisanal and small-scale miners are struggling to survive.
In the latest RBZ Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) government raked in 35.2 tonnes of gold between 1 January and 31 December 2022.
Part of the statement reads: “Gold deliveries to the government’s sole buyer Fidelity Gold Refinery (Private) Limited (FGR) increased by 19.1% to 35 280.07 kgs for the period extending from 1 January to 30 December 2022, from 29 629.62 kgs delivered during the same period in 2021.”
“The annual contribution by primary and small-scale gold producers increased by 0.3% and 30.4%, respectively, during the period extending from January to December 2022. The Gold Incentive Scheme put in place by Government in 2021 has had a significant effect on the deliveries of gold to FGR by the small-scale gold producers,” reads part of the statement.
However, as earlier reported by The NewsHawks last year, the incentive scheme, which was introduced in 2021 to boost gold deliveries to Zimbabwe’s sole authorised gold buyer, Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR), has left artisanal and small-scale operators at the mercy of big gold buyers who are making a killing at their expense.
Under the current GIS, delivery of 20kg of gold within a period of 30 days is eligible for a 5% incentive, a tonne 7% and one to three tonnes 9%.
However, a survey by The NewsHawks revealed that artisanal and small-scale miners, who constitute a bigger percentage of Zimbabwe’s current gold deliveries, are receiving between one to 1.5% from the current gold incentives, with some getting nothing at all.
Development experts say if the country was well-run and managed, the abundant gold alone could form the basis of an economic rise, while its valued-added chains of production and cross-chain activities could become a catalyst for progress.
City states like Singapore and other Asian Tigers became economic giants without the natural resources that African countries like Zimbabwe are endowed with. They only had vision, leadership and development plans.
There are also reports that Zimbabwe continues to lose US$100 million a month through gold smuggling.