Kasukuwere sweetens indigenisation

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The government says it has revised the contentious regulations giving effect to the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act to fine-tune its black economic empowerment policies after intense lobbying by business.
Saviour Kasukuwere, the Minister of Youth Development Indigenisation and Empowerment Kasukuwere said yesterday that the government has agreed to blend direct equity and empowerment credits to achieve the indigenisation equity of 51% in all foreign-owned companies.
The waiver has reduced direct equity to 15% from the initial 51% with “equity-equivalent” empowerment credits making up the balance of the statutory minimum.
The credits include community share trusts, employee share ownership schemes, assistance to small-scale miners and skills development.
The amendments, which are due to be gazetted on Friday, also took on board the suggestions of the Mines Chamber to have the term “cede” replaced with “dispose” so that the regulations explicitly state that equity in mines would strictly be paid for.
In revising the general regulations, the government adopted a targeted approach whereby technical committees would decide on the indigenisation equity threshold for every sector.
“It’s not a one-size-fits-all policy. We will be able to accommodate companies,” said Kasukuwere.
“Fifty-one percent is not the end of it. We might decide to go higher as we are the masters of our destiny,” Kasukuwere said.
“There are sectors that we may say 60% or 100% control, (but) we will come to a stage where we control everything.
“We’ve agreed on the process of setting up committees to look at sectoral (shareholding) thresholds, time-frames or any other issues that relate thereto.”
The government withdrew the regulations published in January this year after a barrage of criticism from various stakeholders who argued the measures were hostile to foreign direct investment.
Under the new initiative, eight sectoral committees from various industries will be formed to assist to determine the size of the roll back.
The committees carry a mandate to make recommendations to the minister within three months.
Kasukuwere said the amendments were a result of extensive consultations with various interested parties.
“This statement is from the entire government of Zimbabwe,” Kasukuwere said. “Come 30 June we expect all companies to have complied,” Kasukuwere said.
“The process is not intended to destroy the economy, but to uplift the people of this country.”
He said 600 companies have so far come forward with proposals on how they intended to dispose shareholding to black Zimbabweans.