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RBZ takes over diamond operations

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has taken over the production of diamonds in the country in an effort to promote transparency in the sector.

This comes as the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), which was formed last year after government expelled all diamond miners in Marange, has failed to deliver.

Official government data shows that ZCDC is only producing 95 000 to 100 000 carats a month against a target of approximately of between 300 000 to 350 000 carats.

All else being equal, the country should be getting about $30 million per month from diamonds but this is not the case.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said the State-owned diamond firm is now compelled to remit all proceedings to fiscus.

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“We have capitalised ZCDC to the tune of $80 million and we are getting weekly reports of production and it has new management.

“We have also agreed on a new arrangement, we have told them, ZCDC, that since we are now capitalising you, the diamonds are ours,” he told delegates at the Chamber of Mines conference in Victoria Falls last week.

“So the new arrangement is that every output of diamond will come to the fiscus through the Reserve Bank and this will ensure that we get maximum benefit from the proceeds of the diamonds,” Chinamasa added.

This was after the central bank seconded its former exchange control director, Morris Mpofu, to lead ZCDC.

According to Mpofu, who began his tenure as ZCDC chief executive in March 2017, the mining company is also receiving technical assistance from the apex bank.

“Since last year when ZCDC was formed, we have been selling diamonds on rushed basis to raise working capital, but this was stopped in March 2017 but RBZ has provided us with a working capital facility which allows us to continue producing diamonds

“ZCDC has also adopted a stock accumulation policy from RBZ and government which allows us to build and accumulate diamond stocks which we will tender at the right time, to the right bidder and the right price,” Mpofu said recently.

Diamond revenue has remained a national  headache with very little being realised from the auction of Zimbabwe’s gems. President Robert Mugabe last year claimed the country had lost an estimated $15 billion to leakages in the sector. Daily News