THE affirmative Action Group has questioned the implementation of the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme,
amid concerns that it was benefiting only a few people.
Addressing delegates at an AAG engagement meeting with the Attorney-General’s Office in Harare yesterday, AAG president Mr Keith Guzah asked why the indigenisation programme was seemingly benefiting a few consortiums.
“Our economy has been ‘consortiumised’ (sic). We should ask ourselves that through the indigenisation programme, are we not simply empowering the same people
over and over again?” he said.
“We keep hearing that consortium such-and-such has taken shares in this and that company, but who exactly is benefiting from the 51 percent equity that is supposed to be indigenised?”
The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act was signed into law on March 9, 2008, and the related regulations were gazetted as Statutory Instrument 21 of 2010.
The law basically requires that all foreign-owned firms operating in the country sell off at least 51 percent of their equity to indigenous Zimbabweans.
But in response to the AAG’s concerns Attorney-General Johannes Tomana said the consortiums were legal entities which were entitled to benefit from the indigenisation programme.
“The idea of the indigenisation programme is that the controlling stake of the key economic contributors should be held by people who have a permanent interest in the success of the country, not those with external interests,” said Mr Tomana.
“Consortiums consist of individuals that by law are allowed to benefit from the indigenisation programme and it is these individuals that will then engage global capital on our behalf to unlock real value.”
The AG said Zimbabweans should not be debating whether or not a law was right or wrong.
“Debating takes place in Parliament. Gazetted laws should simply be obeyed. It is the abiding of our laws that gives guarantee to foreign investors,” he said.
Meanwhile, according to the official blog of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, the Government has gazetted frameworks for compliance for a number of economic sectors through the General Notice 280 of 2012.
Reads part of the notice on the blogsite:
“Having gazetted the first two sector frameworks for compliance with Indigenisation and Empowerment in 2011 on mining and manufacturing, the Government of Zimbabwe has gone a step further to gazette for the remaining sectors.
“These are finance, tourism, education and sport, arts, entertainment and culture, engineering and construction, energy, services, telecommunications, transport and motor industry sectors.”
For instance, the notice states that all financial institutions have one year in which to comply with the 51 percent indigenisation requirements.