Zimbabwe to review indigenization law

Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean acting Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, on Thursday, said the country would review its “controversial indigenisation law” to change the economic environment and attract more foreign direct investment.

Chinamasa told Xinhua in an interview in Harare that the government would quickly align the controversial indigenisation law with policy pronouncements made by former President Robert Mugabe in 2016.

In his clarification following conflicting interpretations by some of his ministers, Mugabe said existing mines which were yet to indigenize would be exempted from the 51 percent local ownership requirement but would be required to retain 75 percent of total earnings locally in the form of wages, taxes and procurement.

However, in new investments in the mining sector, the government and its designated entities would hold a 51 percent stake with the remaining 49 percent belonging to partnering investors.

Firms outside the natural resources sector, including manufacturing, telecommunications, energy and banking, would negotiate empowerment credits or quotas with appropriate ministries, Mugabe said.

Chinamasa said the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act would be aligned to these policy pronouncements by Mugabe “soon’’ because they were adopted by Mugabe’s cabinet but “their implementation was frustrated by the then indigenisation minister.’’

“We were not able to honour the wishes of the former president, but we now want to honour his wishes because they represent the views of the cabinet,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, Chinamasa said the new Zimbabwe government would also compensate former white farmers whose farms were taken for redistribution to landless blacks during the land reform programme.

“We are going to move faster on this issue. We need to bring finality to the land question. We had already started to engage the former white farmers and we need to come to a round table and agree on the modalities of the payment of the compensation,’’ he said.

He said the Zimbabwe government currently did not have funds to compensate the former white farmers right now but hoped to come to an agreement with the farmers as discussions move forward.

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