In a report released Friday (July 21st), the NGO Global Witness claims that US $ 750 million in mining revenues from mining companies to DRC tax administrations and mining companies escaped the Treasury between 2013 and 2015.
The NGO assimilates the mining sector to a ” cash machine ” for the circle of President Joseph Kabila. The DRC is the leading producer of copper in Africa and the world’s leading supplier of cobalt, an element that is used in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries for electric cars and is experiencing a real price surge , The report, adding: ” This does not prevent Congo from remaining among the poorest countries in the world .”
” One of the major culprits of this embezzlement is Gécamines, the state’s main mining company. It receives more than one hundred million dollars a year from private companies in the Congolese mining sector, but seems to pay only a tiny fraction of it to the state coffers , “the NGO said.
The announcement of these conclusions comes as Congo is going through major political turmoil and President Joseph Kabila clings to power despite the difficulties he encounters. “Congolese mining revenues should help lift the population out of poverty, but instead large sums are being drawn from the public coffers for administrations that are not accountable and are managed by people close to them Political elites, “says Pete Jones, campaign manager for Global Witness.
The government has denied allegations of corruption in its mining sector.
According to the report, a large part of the DRC mining revenues disappear after being paid to the Gécamines mining company.
The head of Gécamines, a close ally of President Kabila, denied allegations of corruption and insisted that the company be transparent.
The other alleged perpetrators identified by the report are the country’s tax agencies that are legally allowed to withhold a percentage of the taxes they impose.
The report indicates that if the money does not reach the state coffers through corruption, mismanagement and an inefficient tax system have been gathered, from 2013 to 2015, then the amount is 1.3 billion of dollars.
Congo, one of the largest countries in Africa, is also among the poorest. It is ranked 176 out of 188 countries in the latest UN Human Development Report, of which 77% of the population survive on less than $ 2 a day. More than 40% of its children are stunted due to malnutrition. Roads, hospitals and schools are poorly funded and often in a terrible state.
At the same time, the Congo has vast mineral resources, attracting enormous investments from foreign companies because of its low production costs and its high quality minerals. It is the largest producer of copper in Africa and produces 60% of the cobalt in the world. Up to $ 10 billion worth of copper and cobalt is mined and exported from the Congo each year, but only 6 percent of this revenue reaches the national budget, according to the Global Witness report.