Let's utilise the diamond centre

HARARE - There are a number of instances when government has missed opportunities to put this country on a lofty pedestal because of lethargy and dithering thereby giving momentum to outsiders to capitalise on these missed chances.

Without enumerating the array of lost opportunities over time, news that government is still undecided whether to partner an indigenous entrepreneur at the Zimbabwe Diamond Technology Centre (ZDTC) seems not to sit well and does contradict with what Zimbabweans expect as an outcome of the resource nationalism thrust often the focus of public chatter.

All too frequently, we have heard government ministers, other leaders and high-ranking officials speak glowingly about indigenisation and empowerment, yet their stonewalling when opportunities present themselves creates grave doubts that they mean what they say.

One opportunity ready for the taking is the beneficiations of local minerals so that Zimbabwe does not whinge about getting short-changed when minerals and other products are exported in raw form in the future.

ZDTC provides a glittering chance to prove that government is serious when it talks about such matters as retaining control of our mineral resources and the benefits derived there from.

It is sad that government seems hesitant to venture along an unfamiliar path to success because it cannot trust its own instincts to run things other than sheepishly follow the prototype, well-beaten path of doing things.

More dispiriting is the rather poignant observation by the ZDTC chairperson that there is a perception among authorities that if a local company does not have a foreign component it will not produce quality goods.

This is a prevalent mental attitude President Robert Mugabe regularly speaks against among some of the leaders who would rather prefer to be second best.

African political leaders have routinely bemoaned at every fora about how Africa is losing out billions that could help uplift the continent to Europe due to lack of facilities that add value to products.

By partnering with the ZDTC, government would have blazed a trail in pursuit of what continental leaders have always harped and hankered for.

Government should be ready to set out their stall and wait for the deluge of buyers who could possibly take the opportunity to look for other investment opportunities available in the country on the sidelines of diamond auctioning sessions.

What has government got to lose by partnering an indigenous entrepreneur so that we have the largest diamond centre in the world?

What does it take for government to see the immense benefits that will ripple from having such a world-first in terms of downstream industries?

Let government grab every possible opportunity for the furtherance of the national good.

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