We need proper due diligence otherwise we will sell our natural resources for a song- MP warns




Pupurai Togarepi

There are a number of investors who are keen to invest in the Lupane methane gas project such as Toma Gold Consortium, Gazzprom, Zambezi Gas and Sakunda, but the government must carry out proper due diligence first so that it does not sell the country’s natural resource for a song.

This was said by Gutu South legislator Pupurai Togarepi who is also the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front chief whip in his contribution to the motion on domestic resource mobilisation for the country’s development.

Togarepi said the country must also be on the lookout for investors who might just want to hold on to the resources without exploiting them for their own gain.

“After observing all this, one must also be cognizant of the fact that where there is gas or potential of these resources, there is also a lot of interest and interference from those who have already enjoyed monopolies on these minerals. They would find ways of throwing spanners in the whole works in order to delay exploitation of these resources,” he said.

“We also need as a country to be very careful as we deal with these resources and any other resource that we have – gold, diamond, platinum, et cetera, that we do not sell the future of our people for a song because most of these people would want to come.

“My other Hon. Member said $15 million could be a lot of money but if you look at the potential these people would get out of exploiting these, we are talking of trillions and billions of dollars.  $15 million may not be a lot of money because anyone who comes to deal with this type of resource knows very well what he will get from it and as people of Zimbabwe, before we do anything we should ask ourselves what we are going to get as a people.

“Many of them have come to Zimbabwe and some were mining diamond in Chiadzwa, claiming that it was all exploration but they were shipping diamond out of the country.

“We can still have the same people coming to us. The list I have given you, these people have interest to exploit these resources but they may take advantage of our interest in them exploiting these resources and exploit to the disadvantage of our people. My view would be for us to allow Government to do due diligence to ensure that whatever relationships that we are going to have with any company from wherever it comes from, whether is it a local company – it comes from the East or from the West and they want to exploit our resources, they must give us value. We need value for whatever we have….

“It is better to keep our natural gas than to give it away for a song,” he said.

Full contribution

HON. TOGAREPI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for affording me this opportunity to also bring in my voice on this important motion that was raised by Hon. Dr. Khupe. It is a very important motion for this country.  We all want to see Zimbabwe developing and achieving its potential based on its own resources.  If they are correctly exploited, they will benefit the people of Zimbabwe and we will develop indeed and move out of poverty and increase the standard of living of our people.

Our Government Mr. Speaker Sir, has already done a lot of work in this area.  I think every Zimbabwean is keen to see the Lupane gas being exploited.  With all the news and information that has been put on the media, internet and everyone looking at it will see potential.  If this resource is exploited, definitely it will bring in positives for our country.  Nobody doubts that and I think the observation by Hon. Dr. Khupe is critical that we quickly find ways of exploiting this resource. As I have said, Government has already done a lot in this area.  Exploration and estimations have already been done.  For example in Lupane, it has already been estimated that the Hwange – Lupane gas will give us about 800 million cubic metres per kilometer.  If you compare it with other sources of gas in the region, you will see that we have more potential than others.  So, it is critical that we definitely look at it and ensure that we exploit it.

Other studies have also shown that as a country, we have about 40 trillion feet of potential gas in Lupane-Lubimbi area.  So, I think in terms of Government’s interest in this, all these researches have been facilitated by our Government, meaning Government is very keen knowing very well that gas from the research that has been done will be useful even for domestic and industrial purposes.  We have one of the best gases if my reading is correct. So, we would want to see that being exploited.

We also have potential investors in this area.  We already have companies like Toma Gold Consortium.  They would want to invest about $50 billion in this.  We also have GAZPROM from Russia, they will also want to come in, Zambezi Gas, our local company and also Sakunda have shown that they want to invest in the same very important natural resource.

After observing all this, one must also be cognizant of the fact that where there is gas or potential of these resources, there is also a lot of interest and interference from those who have already enjoyed monopolies on these minerals. They would find ways of throwing spanners in the whole works in order to delay exploitation of these resources.  We also need as a country to be very careful as we deal with these resources and any other resource that we have – gold, diamond, platinum, et cetera, that we do not sell the future of our people for a song because most of these people would want to come.  My other Hon. Member said $15 million could be a lot of money but if you look at the potential these people would get out of exploiting these, we are talking of trillions and billions of dollars.  $15 million may not be a lot of money because anyone who comes to deal with this type of resource knows very well what he will get from it and as people of Zimbabwe, before we do anything we should ask ourselves what we are going to get as a people. Many of them have come to Zimbabwe and some were mining diamond in Chiadzwa, claiming that it was all exploration but they were shipping diamond out of the country.

We can still have the same people coming to us. The list I have given you, these people have interest to exploit these resources but they may take advantage of our interest in them exploiting these resources and exploit to the disadvantage of our people. My view would be for us to allow Government to do due diligence to ensure that whatever relationships that we are going to have with any company from wherever it comes from, whether is it a local company – it comes from the East or from the West and they want to exploit our resources, they must give us value. We need value for whatever we have.

You can go around this country today and we have shafts and shafts but we have nothing to show for those shafts. People have taken our gold and they are rich somewhere. I have seen on the internet the Queen of England for example, in a big room full of gold bars. Those gold bars came from Africa – they came from Zimbabwe but what do we have to show for that exploitation of gold? We may then lose this natural resource if we cannot do it ourselves and if we are not happy with the present suitors or prospective investors – it is better to keep it for better investors or our future generations being able to come up with good relationships that will exploit these resources for the good of our country.

We want gas to be exploited and if it is exploited, nobody doubts the advantages that we are going to get as a country. Let us not do it because others have done so.  Others have done so to the disadvantage of their people. We have our neighbours who had a lot of copper, what is happening there? They have lost all the copper and they all have shafts. Where is the development? We used to have copper here in Mhangura, what has it done, they shipped it all to their countries and enriched themselves. Whatever we are going to do, I think we have a Government which is very pro-development. I am sure whatever they are doing – in 2020 for example, the Minister said if somebody does not exploit a resource, it is either use it or lose it and that policy is already in place. For those who have shown interest in the Lupane-Lubimbi area, if they do not exploit it, they will lose the concessions and I think that is fair.

We have people who are dotted throughout the world who have gold concessions and mineral concessions in Zimbabwe, they are using that to  trade on the British Stock Exchange but what is coming to Zimbabwe – nothing. We have people who will come here and we give them concessions to exploit this gas and may not do it because they have so many interests. There are so many of these people who are controlling other gas production throughout the world and they would not want our gas to come on the market because it will flood the market and depress the prices.

So they may play games of showing us as if they have interest. If they had interest, these multi-trillion deposits anyone could have rushed to Zimbabwe to exploit this but they are taking their time. This is all because they would want to exhaust wherever they are and they come to Zimbabwe later. What I may have to ask is our own Zimbabwean companies if they have potential and if they have the skills, if they can exploit these resources, why not allow them to exploit than looking for those external investors who will come with a lot of conditions and who are not even prepared to pay but they pay same figures elsewhere, but because this is Africa, they do not want to pay because they believe US$15 million is big money for people of Zimbabwe.

We need this and it is one of the best resources as one of our Hon. Members said. It is the way where we are going as a world today. This is very important. So we cannot give it away and allow people who have no interest whatsoever to our development and to our future to just take our gas. We are lucky this is God given but if they there are those who can exploit this resource, I really urge Government to allow them to come in and if they are coming in good faith and giving value to the people of Zimbabwe, then let them come.  If they are not, it is better to keep our natural gas than to give it away for a song. I thank you.