BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has urged the mining sector to ramp up production in order to increase its contribution to the national fiscus.

The mining sector is viewed as a locomotive of Zimbabwe’s development agenda, contributing over 60% of export proceeds in the last three years buoyed by critical minerals such as gold (small-scale miners delivering over 60%), platinum group of metals, nickel and chrome.

At its peak in 1997-1998, the sector employed approximately 65 000 workers in primary activities. Addressing business delegates at a Professionals Business Association of Zimbabwe breakfast meeting in Bulawayo on Friday, RBZ deputy director for Bulawayo, Kasanda Sibanda, said there was need to deepen the mining sector to increase its contribution to the fiscus.

“Mining can support sustainable economic development when domestic firms become integrated into mining company value chains,” Sibanda said.

“The benefits of increased mining linkages include contributions to incomes, jobs, upgrading of the industrial base, formalisation of firms, and increased tax revenue. In Zimbabwe, there is need to deepen mining backward, forward and horizontal linkages in order for the sector to support broad-based economic development,” he said.

Sibanda said domestic suppliers to the mining sector should develop and improve capabilities to service the mining sector in terms of not only price but quality, timeliness of delivery, flexibility and ability to supply to scale.

He said mining was an important activity for Zimbabwe which has contributed immensely to growth in the country.

“Increased exploration is needed to attract foreign direct investment in the sector. Value addition and mining beneficiation is also critical to enhance the contribution of the sector in the economy,” he said.