Use mineral revenue to develop health care infrastructure, govt told

The Government has been urged to transparently manage mineral resources revenue to develop the health care infrastructure in the country. 

These remarks were made by the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Zimbabwe Coordinator Joyce Machiri, in the second edition of the situational analysis of mining communal areas during the lockdown period. 

Publish What You Pay is a group of civil society organisations that advocates for financial transparency in the extractive industry.

The country’s health system is in dire straits with most health institutions in a deplorable state while health care providers are often in collision course with the government over poor working conditions.  

According to the Zimbabwe Nurses Association, over 200 of their members including students nurses have tested positive for Covid-19 at a time the government is struggling to provide them with adequate protective clothing.

To date, the cumulative statistics of the pandemic in the country are at 2 124 confirmed cases and a total of 28 deaths. 

Machiri noted that lack of transparency in the management of mineral revenue has resulted in the government failing to realise maximum benefit from its mineral resources.

“The coronavirus pandemic is deeply exposing and widening the inequality gaps. This edition comes at a time where the global pandemic (COVID-19) has spread to all parts of Zimbabwe including the mining areas. These include Matebeland North and South, Midlands, Manicaland, Mashonaland East among others. Cases were mainly being recorded in Harare and Bulawayo but such is no longer the case,” Machiri said. 

“This calls for an urgent need for proper management of mineral resource revenue for the benefit of mining communities and the nation. The health infrastructure in most mining communities and the country at large does not translate to the resource endowment that Zimbabwe prides of.”

Machiri stated that unless the government promotes transparency and accountability in the management of public resources, development in all its aspects will not be realised.

“Lack of transparency and accountability remains the elephant in the room.  As Publish What You Pay-Zimbabwe we are pushing not only for mining revenue transparency but also sound public resource management hinged on Section 298 (1) (a) of the Constitution on principles of public financial management which substantiates the aspect of  transparency and accountability in all public financial matters,” she said. 

“We also remain resolute in our call to the government of Zimbabwe to join the Extractive Industries Transparency initiative (EITI), which we have no doubt that it help  to address the key governance issues in the extractive sectors.”

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