Zhuwao must inspire confidence

HARARE - Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister Patrick Zhuwao is fast becoming a square peg in a round hole as his reckless statements continue to cause consternation and confusion.

His actions are also becoming a huge embarrassment to the Zanu PF government which is clutching at the straws as its ruinous policies have driven the economy to the brink.

Zhuwao is taking his own direction, behaving as if he is living in cuckoo land — completely detached from the mounting problems which are a creation of his uncle and Zanu PF, who appear clueless as to how to extricate the country from this black hole.

His idea of levying a 10 percent tax on companies that have not yet complied with the indigenisation requirements at a time Zimbabwe desperately needs investors, is worrying.

Under the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act passed in 2008, the minister, with the approval of the Finance minister, can levy a tax on any company to raise money for the programme.

But what is disconcerting is that Zhuwao is fully aware that the lack of clarity and inconsistencies on the indigenisation law have forced would-be investors to look elsewhere with their money.

It is dangerous and misplaced to suggest that the overtaxed and struggling companies be levied at a time the economy has continued to contract.

Surely, you can’t keep milking a bleeding cow!

Zhuwao’s priority should be correcting the mess created by his predecessor, Saviour Kasukuwere, not this sideshow that is becoming a joke, before he even completes a month in office.

No one knows how many youths really benefitted from the Youth Fund, how many have fully repaid the loans and how many undeserving applicants got the loans?

Zhuwao seems oblivious to these matters yet they are important because thousands of youths were blocked from accessing this fund.

So, to just wake up and suggest that a levy must be imposed on companies to raise funds for empowerment, is nonsensical and a betrayal of the competencies commensurate with a man of his stature, at least looking at his qualifications.

Inside three weeks, Mugabe’s nephew has caused disquiet among colleagues and the business community through his “idiotic” statements that border more on student politics and activism.

They don’t represent thought leadership which he tries so hard to represent.

Instead, Zhuwao is exposing himself as a politician who lacks the nous and skill required to inspire confidence among his followers!

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