The Zimbabwean government is facing calls to enforce its gold pricing policy after allegations emerged that private players are purchasing the yellow metal at higher prices than the State-set rate.
The allegations were raised by Shamva South Member of Parliament (MP) Joseph Mapiki, during a Question and Answer session on Wednesday.
Mapiki asked the Minister of Mines and Mining Development to explain why private buyers are willing to pay more for gold than the government.
“The Minister stated clearly that he is issuing licences to private players. I want the Hon. Minister to explain why they buy at a higher price than Fidelity Printers. I want to understand where they sell their gold,” said Mapiki.
The Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Polite Kambamura, responded by saying that the government sets gold prices based on international market prices daily and that any buyer purchasing at a higher price would be required to explain.
“If there is any buyer purchasing at a higher price, please show us that buyer because as Government, we have set prices depending on the international market prices on a daily basis just like when bread is priced at a dollar.
“If we find you buying bread at $10.00, we would need an explanation as to why you are buying at such a price when Bakers Inn is selling at $1,” said Kambamura.
The allegations of private buyers purchasing gold at higher prices than the government-set rate raise concerns about the transparency and fairness of the country’s gold market.
Mapiki’s allegations came after MPs inquired about government policy in assisting small-scale miners operations in the outskirts of Zimbabwe.
In response, Kambamura said the government was licensing private gold buyers who can go to where the mining is taking place.
The deputy minister said the country’s biggest gold buyer, Fidelity Printers, now has mobile purchasing units.
“Fidelity Printers have come up with mobile gold buying units whereby they will be going to those places that are remote for miners to sell their gold to the legal market.
“Besides that, we are also giving licences to private players who can go to where that mining is taking place and buy that gold. As long as they are licensed, the small-scale miners should feel free to sell their gold to them.
“So, these are some of the measures that the Government is taking. Besides that, we are also setting up gold milling centres throughout the country. We have started this project in Makaha whereby a gold service centre will be a point where the miner can access cash and also some expertise or technical assistance in terms of safer methods of mining,” Kambamura said.