ZAMBIA is losing more than US$500 million a year in the gemstone industry due to a poor export monitoring system, Mines Minister Wilbur Simuusa has said.
The minister has also called for increased supervision in the export of base metals in the mining industry to enable the country realise full benefits from the global market.
Mr Simuusa said in Chingola that, the gemstone industry only declared $2 million as revenue last year, when the world market had declared about $700 million as the value of the gemstones from Zambia.
He said if well harnessed and reorganised, the gemstones industry could double the country’s revenue and make it one of the richest in the world.
Government has always been issuing export permits but there was no monitoring system to check what was being exported.
Mr Simuusa, who was addressing Mine Suppliers and Contractors Association of Zambia (MSCAZ) and the Zambia Building and General Contractors Association (ZBGCA) members at Nchanga Mine Club on Monday evening, said Zambia was losing alot of revenue through the lack of a proper monitoring system.
He said there was need to account for the minerals which were being exported if the country is to maximise the benefits, adding that everyone in the industry would begin to see the value to the nation if the system was closely monitored.
“It has always been a paradox that Zambia is one of the richest in natural resources, but it is ranked among the poorest in the world,” Mr Simusa noted.
Government was in addition, working on a procedure aimed at empowering Zambian Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) in the mining sector which will be announced soon.
He further called for increased production which was one of the areas lacking in the mining sector and once doubled, revenue would also be doubled.
At the same occasion, MSCAZ president Fanuel Banda said the monitoring system would greatly assist the Government and the suppliers to keep track of what was happening in the mining industry as a whole.