Saturday, May 29, 2010

(HERALD) President slams KPCS

President slams KPCS
From Takunda Maodza in VICTORIA FALLS

ZIMBABWE voluntarily joined the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and can just as easily leave the grouping if the country’s detractors continue to frustrate efforts to have its diamonds certified for export, President Mugabe has said.

Officially opening the 71st Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe annual general meeting here yesterday, President Mugabe slammed the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia for trying to deny the country the right to benefit from its resources.

"To tell you the truth, I have not seen a single diamond from Chiadzwa. None, but I believe that we are piling them; obeying the rules that are set for us to obey since we decided to go voluntarily to the KP.

"It was our choice. Having gone into it and realising the organisation comprises countries not friendly to us, we should do some re-thinking.

"We want to be orderly, to do like what other countries in the region are doing but countries like the US, Britain, Australia and Canada want to take advantage of us by ensuring the process creates the same effect like sanctions on us; that we should not be allowed to sell our diamonds," the President said, adding: "It boggles the mind that you are working with developed countries and you would think that their consciences are also developed and they have a highly developed sense of morality, but no. They become little-minded, narrow and evil-hearted. They do not want us to sell our diamonds.

"They have been heard saying what happens to our sanctions if Zimbabwe sells its diamonds? It is the regime change agenda all the time."

President Mugabe said the regime change mentality had caused untold suffering to millions of Zimbabweans.

"Deal with Robert Mugabe your own way if you want, but he is a product of 14 million people.

"We say no. If our people are going to mine diamonds or gold, surely they should have an open market — an international market to sell their products without hindrance," he said.

President Mugabe once again told the country’s enemies to leave Zimbabwe alone.

"Please, please, please, leave us alone. God did not only create the white race. God also created the black people and gave them their share of wealth.

"We are saying let us be friends and not enemies," he said.

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces assured investors that the Indigenisa-tion and Economic Empowerment Act and Regulations were not about nationalisation and should not ignite undue fears.

"Government has no intention of expropriating the mining industry. No mine has been nationalised since independence.

"The record speaks for itself. But it is readily agreed that the war of independence was fought not just for land, but also for our nation to own other natural resources in circumstances in which we can share with other friendly countries as equitable partners.

"Past business modalities and practices of companies that deny our people participation as partners in the ownership of their equity are repugnant to the principles of our national sovereignty."

The President said Government was creating a sustainable win-win partnership beneficial to both Zimbabweans and foreign investors.

"Local investors will have to demonstrate fair value for their equity stake in the process."

He said consultations with the private sector to improve the indigenisation regulations were progressing satisfactorily.

"Government has also accepted the principle of empowerment credits as an integral component of the 51 percent and this is detailed in Section 5(4)(c) of the regulations.

"I am thus amazed by the rush of negative

publicity towards this policy of indigenisation when, in fact, its regulations provide for flexibility where necessary.

"Local procurement and capacitating industries and new companies owned by indigenous persons constitute premier initiatives that qualify for empowerment credits.

"Corporate social investment in communities also creates a visible platform for local empowerment thus achieving broad based and transformative empowerment," President Mugabe said.

He said the construction of dams and irrigation schemes, approved scholarship and skills development programmes were among initiatives that qualified as empowerment credits.

President Mugabe singled out Rio Tinto and Zimplats on the social arena as illustrative of the merits of well-designed and beneficial community development projects.

The Rio Tinto Foundation has several projects like the Rupike Irrigation Scheme, Sanyati dam construction, Empress RioZim Agricultural College among others.

Zimplats has constructed roads, schools and clinics in Mhondoro-Ngezi.

President Mugabe took a swipe at Anglo-American Corporation for not engaging in such activities saying the conglomerate was "just taking gold away".

President Mugabe said the Chamber of Mines AGM was taking place at a very important time in Zimbabwe’s history with Government affirming the importance of mining and its central role in turning the economy around.

"Indeed, Government is aware of the current challenges constraining the growth of the mining sector, thus slowing down the recovery momentum.

"In response, Government has instituted a package of economic stabilisation measures under the Short-Term Economic Recovery Programme and having achieved stabilisation, will now roll out further economic reforms for sustainable recovery and growth of the economy."

The President said the finalisation of the Mines and Minerals Act was progressing well and the amendments would improve administration and management of mineral titles.

The 71st Chamber of Mines AGM was held under the theme "Rebuilding the mining industry for sustainable growth, development and empowerment".

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