ZIMBABWEAN diamond cutting and polishing companies have decried the licence fees and quality of diamonds they are offered by the diamond mining companies in the country.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy on Monday, Diamond Beneficiation Association of Zimbabwe representatives appealed for a reduction of license fees.
Guruve South legislator Edward Chindori Chininga chairs the committee.
“We experienced a 400 percent license fee increase from US$20 000 per year to US$100 000, a figure that is way above what is expected compared to other players in the region,” DBAZ chairman, Richard Mvududu said.
He compared the fees with those in neighbouring Botswana.
“In Botswana players in the industry pay P100 every year with 10 year licences, we are priviledged to have that information. These license fees have become a barrier to the industry.”
Mvududu said the high license fees made it difficult for most diamond cutters and polishers to acquire licenses.
He said only six companies had been licensed regardless of the fact that 14 companies had invested in equipment.
“From the 29 companies that were licensed last year, only two re-applied this year, a situation that has been caused by high license fees.
“Our members have invested significantly in the industry giving us a capacity to consume about 16 500 carats per month.
“We also have a capacity to employ about 600 people and a capacity to train about 300 apprentices,” Mvududu said.
He said his organisation was also concerned with the quality of diamonds they were getting from diamond mining companies; and criticised the tendering system which he said was not fair because it created opportunities for monopolies especially for those who have the capacity to buy at higher costs.
Mvududu appealed to the Government to come up with a policy that would see them getting preference ahead of international buyers.
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