THE US has added Zimbabwe’s two fertiliser companies on its sanctions list, in a move economic analysts said is aimed at further frustrating the country’s economic turnaround. The Office of Foreign Assets Control included Chemplex Holdings and Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company, both owned by the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe on sanctions. IDCZ is already under the US sanctions and Barclays Bank plc was recently fined $2,5 million by the US Department of Treasury for helping the IDCZ, a state-owned financial development institution, and individuals linked to the company, to process 159 funds transfers valued at around $3,4 million between July 2008 and September 2013.
IDCZ owns 100 percent shareholding in Chemplex and 50 percent in Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company. It also owns 15 percent shareholding in Sable Chemicals, the country sole ammonium nitrate producer.
IDCZ spokesperson Mr Derick Sibanda said the move by the US was “deliberately aimed at paralysing” the agro sector and to stifle the success of Zim-Asset, the country’s economic blueprint.
“Well, the two companies have been to some extent affected by virtue of being owned by IDC but the latest development will worsen the situation,” said Mr Sibanda.
“The two companies are critical in achieving targets set under the Food and Nutrition cluster.”
The US and the European Union imposed illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe just after the turn of the millennium following their fallout with Harare over alleged human rights abuse. The Government estimates the total impact of sanctions is close to $40 billion.
About two months ago, Agribank and the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe were removed from the sanction lists. “Are they really sincere with what they are doing,” questioned one economic analyst.
“You have some companies removed today and some added tomorrow. You can’t really understand their logic but this clearly shows that they are determined to see their agenda sailing through.”