Thursday, 6 June 2019

RAW GRANITE EXPORTS TO BE BANNED


Government will soon ban unprocessed granite exports as part of efforts to enhance foreign currency generation.

This was said by President Mnangagwa yesterday after touring Southern Granites (PVT) Ltd in Chitungwiza.

The company is into processing of granite and the President said he was impressed by its operations.

“This has been an eye-opener. I am told that this factory has been in existence for quite some time, but all that I knew was our rocks were being extracted and depleted in Mutoko and sent in big blocks to Beira on their way to Europe,” he said. 

“The information was that we did not have capacity nor the technology to process these rocks to become finished products. Now that we have the technology I have instructed the Minister of Industry and Commerce (Mangaliso Ndlovu) to craft a Statutory Instrument to ban the exportation of raw blocks. We need to value add.

“The difference is that a raw block ( at least 2,5 tonnes), if exported, will fetch us about US$4,5 million and if value addition and beneficiation is carried out we earn US$12,9 million. So, any reasonable person will go for beneficiation and this is the way to go in our industrialisation and modernisation of our industries. We have no choice, we must do that and we have to support companies of this nature. Let me say to our companies that beneficiate, you will have full support of Government.”

He said Minister Ndlovu would sit with entities exporting raw granite so that they come up with an agreed time frame to stop such exports. 

President Mnangagwa also bemoaned the classification of the company as a mining entity saying this exposed it to taxes and penalties that it is not supposed to pay.

“This is a factory, a manufacturing plant not a mining entity at all. But it is classified as a mining entity and then the penalties and taxes are different. We should promote beneficiation. I have directed the minister (Minister Ndlovu) that he must remove this company from being a mining company to what it is, which is a manufacturing company,” President Mnangagwa said.

Earlier the President had said the operations of the company were in sync with Government policy.

“This is in line with the pursuit of the Second Republic to accelerate the modernisation, industrialisation and inclusive economic growth. I am informed that the plant expansion, focuses on improving existing production processes in keeping with modern manufacturing trends, which are cost effective as well as high on quality and output,” President Mnangagwa said.

He urged companies to prioritise value addition.“Concerted efforts should be made for our primary industries to be established as the bedrock of value addition and beneficiation,” he said. 

“It is costly and a loss to export our products in raw form; with the right human capital, machinery, right business mind sets and concerted efforts our industrialisation and modernisation agenda, will fast be realised.”

The President also called on companied involved in the extraction of granite to carry out their operations in an environmentally friendly manner and empower local communities.

Granite is mainly extracted in Mutoko and Mt Darwin. Herald

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