Amend indigenisation law: EU, US

HARARE - The European Union (EU) and the United States of America have said President Robert Mugabe’s government’s policy relaxation on the controversial indigenisation regulations, should be enacted into law.

Zimbabwe on Sunday announced a raft of changes to the contentious empowerment policy which compels foreigners to cede 51 percent shareholding to indigenous Zimbabweans.

In a major climb-down, government is revising the indigenisation law to allow for sector-specific implementation.

The policy somersault will allow investors to realise their initial capital investment, get appropriate return on investment and recover operational costs.

The new arrangement will see the empowerment policy being implemented through two models; the Production Sharing Model and a Joint Empowerment Investment Model.

In separate interviews, the EU and US ambassadors said there was now need for government to put words into action.

Ado Dell’Ariccia, the EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, said the EU was looking forward to the gazetting of  the changes.

“We have permanently said government should send reassurances to the international community,” Dell’Ariccia said. “There was lack of clarity in the policy and we can only welcome the government stance especially if it dissipates the fears of the international community. The message is positive but words alone are not sufficient.”

Although relations between Zimbabwe and the West have been thawing over the past few years, the indigenisation policy remains one of the chief impediments to attracting investors from either the EU or US.

Bruce Wharton, the US ambassador to Zimbabwe, said government should strike a balance between protecting national interests and promoting investment and economic growth

“We welcome the apparent willingness to review policy and find the right balance between,” he said. “We look forward to seeing the regulations when they are gazetted.  I remain optimistic about Zimbabwe and believe that transparent, consistent, fiscally responsible policies are the key to rebuilding the nation’s economy.  As I have said many times, Zimbabwe’s economy and its future is in the hands of Zimbabweans.”

Experts claim that the country has missed out on over $7 billion worth of lines of credit from international banks due to uncertainty posed by the country’s indigenisation programme, which Zanu PF used as its campaign trump card during last year’s general elections.

Dell’Ariccia said foreign investors, who are required to give impetus to the economy, need something solid in order to bring their money to the landlocked nation.

“Investors need something that is solid, something that is laid in a gazette. Government should find a balance between national interests’ logical capital demands,” said Dell’Ariccia.

Recently, Mugabe ruled out a one-size-fits-all indigenisation approach, saying only companies utilising the country’s natural resources will be required to immediately give up majority stakes to indigenous Zimbabweans.

During the inclusive government era, Mugabe’s cash-strapped government, aggressively pursued the populist policy, refusing to exempt sensitive sectors like banking but the dire economic prospects have necessitated a shift, analysts said.

Comments (8)

No ordinary Zimbabwean needs this indigenization policy or the so called empowerment nonsense. People just need jobs & an enabling environment to do their own thing. Zimbabweans are by nature,hardworking people.We don't need handouts like the ZANU big wigs who are so used to stealing daily. We don't eat ZANU useless politics.

MAFIREI GODOBORI - 30 May 2014

Amending the law is one thing. Abiding by that amendment is another. In fact there is a huge gulf between the two. Our country has and is been run on ambiguous laws which have deliberate loopholes and irregularities to give room to those in power to manipulate them for their benefit. We have very many laws which govern virtually anything and everything, but at the end of it we are found as some of the least happiest people on earth. The government simply does not abide by its own laws and often violates them in its quest to remain in power. One wonder as to why we spend huge sums of taxpayers monies making the laws including the Constitution when in essence we are not going to adhere to them. So even if they make some good amendments, I do not see their actions agreeing with these amendments. Rather this is another gimmick meant to hoodwink the people and buy time which is running scarce for that other party. As usual its all talk and little or no action to accompany the talk. And if ever there is action it is in direct contradiction with the talk.

mosquito - 30 May 2014

Just see who has pronounced the policy change statement and then make a conclusion..Johnathan Moyo. A renouned turn coat! It will be work as usual. The ZANU way...

frankly - 31 May 2014

The only way to restore confidence that Zimbabwe has finally drawn the line in the sand and restored the rule of law is for the nation to hold free and fair elections in which the elected government had in its manifesto the scrapping of the stupid in-digenisation and black empowerment policies and a commitment to returned the country to rule of law. Anything else Mugabe tries to do will be seen as a trick to lure the investors only for the tyrant to perform a surprise volte face and devoured the investor, the investment and, as happened with the white farmers, their family!

Wilbert Mukori - 31 May 2014

will an Ethopian change his colour or a leopard shed his spots ?The Zanu pf junta does not care ,their appetite for greed is beyond redemption !

the analyst - 31 May 2014

the announcer of the change leaves a lot to be desired, Jona Moyo cant be taken seriously in any way. he is a propagandist and will always be one. he changes like a cameleon. he can tell you that black is white and you gota agree. but all the same let it be in black and white

tobaiwa - 2 June 2014

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