Responding to questions in Parliament last week, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said former president Robert Mugabe’s statement that Zimbabwe lost $15 billion in diamond revenue was interpreted wrongly.
Chinamasa said the figure mentioned by Mugabe was figurative. Said Chinamasa:
On diamonds Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to take this opportunity to say something about the $15 billion diamonds. I hope Parliament will permit me to lay on the table some calculations that have been done. I want Hon. Members on this issue to engage their brain, let us engage our brain. When that figure was mentioned, I think it was explained that it was a figurative speech. I think when I look at the analysis of the world diamond sector, it is clear that there is no way $15 billion worth of diamonds would come from Zimbabwe because the entire value of the industry is $15 billion and we are just a speck in terms of production of diamonds.
Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to lay this analysis, which sets out who are the key diamond producers and what is annual production per carat and the value so that we can make our own judgments as to whether or not we are basically saying $15 billion worth of diamonds which did not exist were stolen-no, I just want us to engage our brains, please it does not matter who said what. Let us engage our brain and see what is true and what is not. Do not misread the former President who was speaking figuratively. I am not saying in any way that there may not have been an abuse, but to say that when we are a speck.
The biggest diamond producers are Russia and Botswana I think Botswana itself, we are talking about $2 billion. So, when there is a $2 billion industry, how do we, when we are not producing end up saying $15 billion has been stolen? I just want us to understand this, take your time to go through these figures and please let us not switch off our minds when we are considering national issues