Youth, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere has threatened to order the take-over of foreign-owned banks if they do not release money to fund economic empowerment project.
Addressing indigenisation stakeholders at Masvingo Polytechnic College on Wednesday, Kasukuwere blasted the foreign-owned financial institutions saying Zimbabwe did not need them if they were established to serve white interests.
“Some foreign-owned banks are not releasing loans to help fund our empowerment drive. Let them go back, we do not need them, they came and wanted to serve the interest of the whites. They should either shape up or ship out,” he said.
He said the banks should open up for the youths so that they benefit from the country’s indigenisation and economic empowerment measures. Under the policy, foreign-owned firms are obliged to sell 51% shares to locals.
“I am surprised we still have people against empowerment. But we are saying, whoever comes into this country must work in partnership with our people,” said Kasukuwere.
Asked if all the foreign-owned financial institutions had to give away their majority shareholding, he said some sectors were exempted.
“We would however exempt other sectors like banking as we look at the peculiarity of the investment. But on industries that are linked directly to our resources, we need them to remain with 49%. Our resources can only make sense if they are in our hands,” he said.
Kasukuwere also blasted sugar-producing giants Triangle and Hippo Valley for allegedly denying youths an opportunity to venture into sugarcane farming.
“Triangle and Hippo Valley’s arrogance is a cause for concern. They did not respond to our indigenisation requirements and we had to write to them. They still think we are in Rhodesia. They believe we owe them something. I wish we could have taken more land in the sugar-growing industry.”
Speaking at the same function, National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board chairperson David Chapfika said his board would indigenise the Zimbabwean economy.
“Africa’s renaissance will start in Zimbabwe. I am happy I am part and parcel of that process. Our job is to help government implement the policy of restoring wealth into the locals’ hands. We have a mandate to indigenise the Zimbabwean economy and achieve broad-based economic empowerment,” said Chapfika.
Kasukuwere gave $60 000 for development projects for the youths in the province.