Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter

MINING sector workers have been awarded a 22 percent wage increase, which will see the lowest paid employee for the period October to December 2020, earning a basic salary of ZWL$18 000.

Previously, the lowest paid was earning a basic of ZWL$14 750 as at September 30,2020. The increase follows a recent agreement between the Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe (AMWUZ) and the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe.

According to a joint circular released by AMWUZ and the Chamber of Mines this Tuesday, the increase is based on the dollar value principle for those mines that may be paying above the minimum due to various reasons or merit.

“The portion payable in US$ shall be converted to ZWL$ at the prevailing interbank exchange at the time of payment and deducted from the respective minimum wage to determine the balance to be paid in local currency.

“For clarity, the total earnings for each grade will be equal to the respective minimum for that grade,” reads part of the circular.

It said non-foreign currency generating companies are excluded from the requirement to pay in US$.

Economic commentators contend that there is a need for the mining sector to keep workers’ morale high if the projected US$12 billion mining economy by 2023 is to be achieved.

Already, the mining sector is critical in generating foreign currency, contributing about 70 percent of the country’s forex earnings.

In October 2019, President Mnangagwa launched the US$12 billion mining strategy, which is underpinned by minerals such as gold, platinum, diamond, lithium, coal and chrome.

Through the mining industry among other critical sectors, the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa, has set sights towards driving the country to an upper middle income economy by 2030.

– @okazunga