02 March 2014, Harare – The Zimbabwean Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy is keen to conduct a study visit to Botswana to learn how that country’s value addition has transformed the country’s diamond industry and economy.This followed a visit the committee made to the Zimbabwe Diamond Technology Centre that is currently under construction in Mount Hampden
Committee chairperson Cde Lovemore Matuke said the committee would leave in the next few days for Gaborone to have an appreciation of the country’s diamond industry.
“This is a follow up to a tour we held at the diamond centre. We want to see how Botswana is benefiting from value addition both in terms of price being fetched and in terms of employment creation,” said Cde Matuke, who is also Gutu Central Member of National Assembly (Zanu-PF).
“With respect to our diamonds we have been told that those polished diamonds were fetching a higher price than those that are not polished.
“We therefore want to appreciate how polishing of diamonds has helped Botswana. When we speak about value addition and polishing we want to do that from an informed position hence we have prepared this visit.’
Members of the portfolio committee on Mines and Energy were taken through the project by ZDTC chairperson Mr Lovemore Kurotwi two weeks ago.
During the visit, Cde Matuke bemoaned the existing policies that he said were benefiting foreigners at the expense of locals.
He said the current laws permit only 10 percent for retention for value addition whilst 90 percent is being exported in its rough state yet the real money is in value addition.
“This is not a healthy situation for the country, the sooner it is corrected, the better for the economy,” said Cde Matuke during the visit.
Diamond Beneficiation Association of Zimbabwe chairperson Mr Richard Mvududu added that the country was losing a lot by exporting precious gems in raw form.
– The Herald