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Tendai Biti: Nationalisation of resources is a threat to mining industry

Speaking at the Mining Indaba, Biti warned governments against adopting policies that can scare off investors.

Picture: www.implats.co.za.

CAPE TOWN - Former Zimbabwean Finance Minister, Tendai Biti has proposed a major "paradigm shift" in the mining industry to stave off threats to the industry on the African continent.

Biti, one of the speakers at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town, says the nationalisation of resources is one such threat to the sector.

In Zimbabwe, a law that indigenous people should control at least 51 percent of foreign owned companies, was signed by President Robert Mugabe in 2008.

The former minister says mining companies must do business in a way that benefits them and the communities in which they operate.

"A high value industry can be turned into a high impact industry. Unless this happens, the authorities driven by greed, patronage and the need to look after their [own] people will always look at the mining sector and things like resource nationalism will never go away."

He is proposing a win-win situation.

"Without value addition, without the emergence of an industry around these commodities, the minerals industries have hardly touched African countries and have increased the 'dependency syndrome'."

Drawing from the experience of his own country, he has warned governments against adopting policies that can become "toxic" and scare off investors.

BETTER CONSULTATION ON BUSINESS REGULATION

A week ago, a collective of South African businesses raised what they say is a serious concern about the business confidence in the country.

They say there is a need for the implementation of regulatory impact assessments.

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci), Tourism and Black Business Council and the Small Business Project called for better consultation before draft Bills are published for comment.

Sacci says uncertainty and unpredictability are the biggest threats to business confidence, which is currently not conducive for investment.