Lloyd Gumbo Herald Reporter
THE Indigensation and Economic Empowerment Act must be amended to give it compliance enforcement power to deal with foreigners who are reluctant to comply with the law, Parliamentarians heard. Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, Mr George Magosvongwe said some foreign businesspeople stalled the indigenisation exercise as a result of compliance gaps in the Act.
Appearing before a joint meeting of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment and the
Thematic Committee on Indigenisation and Empowerment last week, Mr Magosvongwe said there was need to expedite the indigenisation exercise as enshrined in the law.
The committees were co-chaired by Zanu-PF legislator for Gokwe-Nembudziya Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena and Harare Metropolitan Senator Cde Cleveria Chizema respectively.
“Some businesses have been slow to react to the instruction to indigenise,” said Mr Magosvongwe. “This is a legal instruction. It is legislated. There are certain gaps in our legislation, particularly in relation to enforcement that need to be rectified perhaps by this
Parliament so that we are able to ensure that all our companies comply with the indigenisation requirement.
“What we are basically saying is: the existing company must indigenise to the extent of 51 percent. The investing company must come through with indigenisation formulae that guarantee that 51 percent will be achieved for Zimbabweans in a given time-frame that they agree with the Minister. And the Minister is just acting on behalf of this House, Mr Chairman.
“There are a number of businesses that have reneged or refused deliberately to comply with the indigenisation law. These businesses take advantage of compliance enforcement gaps in the law to refrain from disposing 51 percent shares to indigenous Zimbabweans.”
Mr Magosvongwe said the Ministry had processed 1 434 applications on indigenisation transactions since 2010 with most of them tilted toward the manufacturing and mining sectors.
He said 481 applications in the mining sector were processed between 2010 to date, while 431 have been processed in the manufacturing sector.
In finance and tourism, the ministry, Mr Magosvongwe said, has processed 118 applications.
He said 59 Community Share Ownership Trusts have been registered in each administrative district of the country.
Mr Magosvongwe bemoaned underfunding of the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board and the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund.
“Lack of adequate financial resources continues to be a major impediment to the fund in executing its mandate of indigenising the economy and undertaking broad-based economic empowerment programmes,” he said.
“As a result, the Board has over the years relied heavily on overdraft facilities with CBZ, First Banking Corporation and Agribank,” said Mr Magosvongwe.
He said his ministry was owing over US$560 000 to its creditors with service providers demanding their outstanding bills, while others were threatening to stop providing their services to the ministry.
Mr Magosvongwe said the ministry urgently needed extra US$2 million before year-end to clear debts and finish planned programmes.
In terms of staff establishment, he said, 15 971 employees were approved, but only 6 948 were employed.