News

    Diamond Revenues Not Helping Zimbabwe's Weak Economy

    Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti addresses parliament during his presentation of the mid term fiscal policy statement in Harare,  July 26, 2011.
    Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti addresses parliament during his presentation of the mid term fiscal policy statement in Harare, July 26, 2011.

    Zimbabwe has one of the world’s largest diamond fields, but revenues are not making an impact on the economy.  The country’s finance minister is warning the government will have to virtually shut down if projected revenues do not make it into the treasury.  

    Diamonds, not a panacea

    Zimbabwe’s once sound agro-based economy plummeted more than a decade ago when President Robert Mugabe's government embarked on a policy of seizing white-owned land. When the country discovered diamonds about eight years ago, many thought this would be the panacea to the country’s financial woes.

    That has not happened yet. And this week Zimbabwe Finance Minister Tendai Biti told the media it is essential these precious stones turnaround of the country’s fortunes.

    "Diamonds have to deliver - otherwise the only thing we’ll be able to do is to pay wages and which means government will virtually close down. That is an unacceptable… situation and that’s cause for concern because we are back to the days of a fragile state that cannot look after its citizens in terms of health, education, roads," said Biti.

    Lack of transparency

    Analysts and rights groups have voiced concerns that diamond revenues are being secretly channeled to President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party to fund his re-election bid.  

    Shamiso Mtisi is the local Civil Society Coalition coordinator for the Kimberley Process - the international system designed to stop the export of so-called blood diamonds. He says there is no transparency in diamond mining in Zimbabwe’s Marange fields.

    "What we have in Marange is limited transparency and accountability in terms of production data," he said. "No one knows what is exactly coming out of Marange. The fact that diamonds are sometimes mined without people knowing exactly how much money is coming out. The minister of finance from his budget statements appears to say that he does not have all the figures from Marange. To us that is a problem."

    It might a problem to Zimbabwe’s civil society. But Obert Mpofu, Zimbabwe’s mines minister and ally of Mugabe, told VOA, he thinks otherwise.

    "How government collects its revenue is not a civil society issue. They should be concerned with… [the] welfare of the people... Not to go deeper into issues that do not involve them.  They don’t speak for the minister of finance... For the first time in this country, the country is witnessing an inflow of revenues from its diamonds," said Mpofu.

    Slow trickling of diamond revenues

    But Finance Minister Biti is worried about the slow trickling of diamond revenues. This week, Biti summed up how Zimbabwe’s economy has been performing since the beginning of the year.

    "We are under performing by at least 50 percent. Largely because of under-performance of the diamond revenue," he said.

    Biti, a member of the MDC party in the uneasy power-sharing government, says he has taken up the issue with Mines Minister Mpofu.

    "I enquired from the minister of mines why we had this deficit situation yesterday. And the answer I got was that we did not have auctions sales for diamonds in January and February," he said. "I am told auctions sales for diamonds have now taken place, so we hope to receive a fatty check from the ministry of mines."

    Biti says he has no firm date when the diamond proceeds will be transferred into Zimbabwe’s treasury.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.