Indigenisation to stay: Mushohwe
Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
Government will not be swayed from its indigenisation policy on the pretext that the law is chasing investors away, newly appointed Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Chris Mushohwe said yesterday. He said the Government would remain guided by the law in the implementation of its indigenisation and economic empowerment programmes.
Minister Mushohwe made the remarks at a meeting with leaders from various youth sectors in Harare yesterday.
This comes as Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the weekend said Government would early next year review the country’s indigenisation policies in a bid to promote foreign direct investment.
Acting President Mnangagwa told businesspeople who paid him a courtesy call at his farm in Kwekwe at the weekend that Government would also get rid of bureaucratic regulations that inconvenienced prospective investors.
Minister Mushohwe said soon after his appointment to the current portfolio, some sections of the media had bombarded him with questions on whether the 51 percent to 49 percent indigenous and foreign ownership respectively would be revised to attract FDI.
“In fact they (foreigners) are very lucky that they get 49 percent,” said Minister Mushohwe.
“In fact, 49 percent is the maximum and 51 percent is the minimum. So it’s not cast in concrete that it’s 49 percent, it can be one percent because it’s the maximum and 51 percent can be 99 percent because it’s the minimum.
“This tendency of threatening each other saying foreign direct investment won’t be available is not true. We are a sovereign State. We welcome FDI, we welcome foreigners to come into our country to invest on our terms.
“Whoever doubts that claiming that they are Zimbabwean, I want to see them. It has to be on our terms.”
Under the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, foreign-owned firms with a minimum threshold of US$500 000 are to cede 51 percent shareholding to indigenous Zimbabweans.
Minister Mushohwe said it was Zimbabwe’s prerogative to spell out shareholding structure of foreign-owned firms.
He said the capital that foreigners brought to start businesses in Zimbabwe could not be valued more than the resources that they extracted.
Minister Mushohwe said he had also demanded officials in his ministry to avail to him a list of all indigenous Zimbabweans who were said to have bought majority shareholding in foreign-owned firms in line with the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act.
“So I requested my directors to give me a list of indigenous people who were empowered so that we see their names to avoid a situation where we keep empowering the same person who is said to have capital to buy shares from several companies,” the Minister said.
“And we must get to a point where we will say why is the same person buying shares from every company and why are all the white businesspeople choosing the same person to partner them?
“You have the right to know who are those people who have been empowered who are said to be more than 1 000 whom we don’t know.
“In terms of this (national) Constitution, the Zanu-PF constitution and in terms of indigenisation and economic empowerment policies, it must be broad-based empowerment and broad-based does not talk about one person or a group of people. Who are they? Zimbabwe is bigger than one person or a group of people,” said Minister Mushohwe.
The meeting was attended by several youth leaders from business, Zanu-PF, Zimbabwe Youth Council, students and junior parliament and council.
Zanu-PF Politburo member for Youth Affairs, Cde Pupurai Togarepi, said the party would be glad to work with youths from all sectors as long as they believed in taking the revolution forward.