Youths query Chisumbanje Ethanol deal

HARARE - Platform for Youth Development (PYD) is demanding to be involved in the drafting of the Joint Venture proposal for Chisumbanje Ethanol Project.

PYD says taking note that Green fuel has been given five percent mandatory blending with conditions of a Joint Venture, they are mindful that the drafting process can be exclusive of the community affected.

“PYD is demanding the government of Zimbabwe through the chairperson of the Inter-ministerial committee on Chisumbanje, Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara to provide for this engagement.

“The law passed will mandate fuel wholesalers to blend petrol with locally produced ethanol in order to cut the country's fuel import bill. PYD, as representing Chisumbanje youths and villagers will have no problem with mandatory blending increased to 10 percent as long as the minimum demands of the communities affected are taken care of,” said PYD in a statement released to the media.

The youth organisation said for the avoidance of doubt, the villagers and youths have been demanding involvement and engagement, respect of  land boundaries between the investor and communal land, proper and commensurate compensation of those displaced and disadvantaged by the project, employment creation for the locals as well as an agreed framework on corporate social responsibility(CSR).

“PYD has observed and read the manner in which deals between the State-run indigenisation and economic empowerment board and several foreign-owned companies are drafted.

“It has been well-recorded that the powerful elites of the inclusive government have manipulated this programme at the expense of locals and the investor involved.

“Despite the law having been drafted with the promise to cede 51 percent of shareholding to local investors, community and local trusts and quasi-government bodies, it has been hijacked,” said the youths lobby body.

PYD says Zanu PF campaign machinery has made implementation of the indigenisation and empowerment programme suspiciously partisan and full of hot air.

“The community share ownership trusts have practically failed to convince the public despite large sums of money having been displayed in the form of cheques.

“PYD remains cautious about the empowerment law, particularly that corruption and lack of transparency have been the order of events. ( Lessons can be drawn from Marange-Zimunya share ownership trust, Mimosa mine,Mhondoro Ngezi,Impala Platinum and Zimplats).”

PYD prefers a Joint Venture deal that directly compels the investor to do business directly with the community with some of the expectations being to build  and improve the connecting roads within the areas they are doing business, Improve the state of local schools and clinics as well as intervention during natural disasters that include hunger and droughts.

“PYD remains hopeful with the manner the relations between the community, the government and the investor are unfolding. We continue to urge the public to increase their interest in nurturing this relationship so that it matures into mutual beneficiation. So far, four meetings have been done to handle the dispute between the community and the investor since mid-January 2013.

“Compensation processes are on-going and hopefully this will be completed to satisfaction in Chinyamukwakwa and Chisumbanje.” - Staff Writer

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