Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Harare fine-tunes empowerment plans

Harare fine-tunes empowerment plans

by Tobias Manyuchi     Friday 04 February 2011

HARARE — Zimbabwean authorities say they are working to harmonise with
national laws recommendations by special committees appointed last year to
help the government set the percentage of shareholding foreign-owned
companies in different sectors of the economy must transfer to locals.

The decision to set varying empowerment thresholds for each sector was a
major shift by President Robert Mugabe and hardliners in his ZANU PF party
who had pushed for adoption of a harsher version of the controversial
indigenisdation law that required foreign firms to cede 51 percent stake to
local blacks.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai opposed the law.

Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said work was underway to
synchronise the recommendations with the country’s laws and in line with
recommendations by Cabinet.

“Work is in progress to align sector committee reports with the various
sector legal instruments, policies and also regional best practices in order
achieve the objectives of indigenisation and economic empowerment act,”
Kasukuwere said in a statement.

The empowerment committees that are dominated by top Mugabe allies and
supporters looked at the financial services, mining, agriculture, energy,
transport and motor industry, telecommunications and information
communication technology, trading, engineering and construction.

The committees also looked at tourism and hospitality, arts, entertainment
and culture, education and sport, services, and manufacturing sectors.

Kasukuwere said work was also underway to finalise by end of this month,
consultations on the mining sector that Mugabe has said should be the first
to be brought under black control.

According to the government locals should own 51 percent of all mining firms
while those exploiting the country’s rich alluvial diamond deposits should
be 100 percent black owned.

Kasukuwere has previously said that he was in consultations with Finance
Minister Tendai Biti over how to raise money for an empowerment fund that
shall warehouse shares for future transfer to blacks.

But analysts say neither the cash-strapped government nor impoverished
blacks will be able to raise money to buy shares in large foreign-owned
mines or factories.

Among the large multinational corporations targeted by Zimbabwe’s
empowerment laws are cigarette manufacturer BAT Zimbabwe, which is 80
percent British-owned; UK-controlled financial institutions Barclays Bank
and Standard Chartered Bank, food group Nestlé Zimbabwe, mining giants Rio
Tinto and Zimplats, and AON Insurance. – ZimOnline.


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