ZSE pursues listing as indigenisation option

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange is pursuing plans to allow listing on the local bourse as part of options to comply with the indigenisation law.

Alban Chirume, the bourse’s chief executive, said efforts to engage Indigenisation minister Francis Nhema were already underway.

“There is need to interact with the minister to encourage ZSE listing as part of indigenisation,” he told an Imara Edwards (Imara) investors conference last week.

This comes as economic analysts say government should allow listing on the stock market as one of the options available for foreign companies to comply with the indigenisation policy – compelling foreigners to cede 51 percent shareholding to locals.

Takunda Mugaga, an independent economist, said the listing of foreign companies already operating in Zimbabwe was another way of indigenising them, but it is important that they meet other listing requirements such as capitalisation and balance sheet thresholds.

“This move will allow more investors both local and international to increase participation on the local bourse. The companies should be able to unlock value and have a good financial track record,” he said, adding that there is need to ensure they are “quality listings”.

This is on the back of president Robert Mugabe’s Cabinet ordering Empowerment minister Francis Nhema to craft a paper clarifying government’s position on the Indigenisation Act. Last week, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa told Parliament that the document will put an end to speculation surrounding the law — compelling foreigners to give up 51 percent shareholding despite their nature of business.

Government has shifted stance on the implementation of the policy, moving from a one-size-fits-all approach to a sector specific one.

Recently, Mugabe ruled out the blanket approach, saying only companies utilising the country’s natural resources will be required to immediately turn over majority stakes to indigenous Zimbabweans.

“Cabinet directed the minister of  Youth Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment to take up this issue with a view to aligning the law to the policy pronouncements,” Chinamasa said.

“He has been asked to start aligning and clarifying that position at the Politburo and minister Nhema has been charged with that responsibility,” he said during a question and answer session.

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