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Fireworks expected at Indigenisation Indaba

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Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere is set to come under the spotlight from circumspect potential investors during the Indigenisation Indaba which kicks-off in Harare this morning.

The inaugural Indigenisation Indaba, organised by Africa Economic Development Strategies (AEDS), promises fireworks given the discord in the inclusive government over the country’s economic and empowerment regulations that have sent chills down many investors’ spines.

Stakes have been heightened by the recent Parliamentary Legal Committee report that found the recent amendments to the empowerment regulations to be ultra vires the country’s Constitution.

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Xin Shungkang and Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu are some of the senior government officials and diplomats lined up to share their views over the country’s economic empowerment programme that has been branded by many as a “smash-and-grab” tactic designed to enrich a few politically connected individuals.

AEDS spokesperson Gift Mugano yesterday said they expected robust debate that could ultimately shape or reshape the destiny of the empowerment regulations.

“This is the first indaba about indigenisation and empowerment that brings all parties in the inclusive government together to discuss indigenisation,” said Mugano.

The three major political parties in the country have been singing from a different hymn sheet with regards to indigenisation.

Mugano recently said the idea for holding such a high-profile indaba was to provide a platform where government and players in business meet and exchange notes on how best the programme can be undertaken.

“I think it is important that we include every stakeholder in the indigenisation, especially locals, as that would help in developing the country since they will not repatriate profits to other countries,” said Mugano.

The indigenisation and economic empowerment regulations have had a negative impact on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and analysts blame the regulations for the decline in enquiries by investors since then.

Falcon Gold and Bindural Nickel Corporation recently said the indigenisation amendment regulations, promulgated early in the year, were having an adverse effect on the companies’ ability to raise additional capital.

The indaba comes at a time when over 170 mining companies have submitted their indigenisaion plans and the government is now in the process of assessing their proposals.

In March this year government gazetted the minimum requirements for indigenisation, which stipulated that each non-indigenous mining company with net assets in excess of $1 must submit an indigenisation plan.

The announcement stated that each such mining company must dispose of 51%, less any percentage previously indigenised to qualified indigenous Zimbabwean companies or investors, of its shares to a “designated entity” by September 25 2011, which may, in certain circumstances, be extended by a further period of no more than three months.

The announcement defined a “designated entity” as any one of several specified State-owned or controlled entities or an employee share ownership scheme.

The announcement also stated that the value of the shares to be transferred to a designated entity will be calculated on the basis of a valuation agreed by the minister and the non-indigenous mining company, and will take into account Zimbabwe’s sovereign ownership of the minerals exploited or proposed to be exploited by the non-indigenous mining company.

Former ambassador to China Christopher Mutsvangwa will speak on whether Chinese investment in Zimbabwe is helpful or harmful.
Pinnacle Holdings chairman Philip Chiyangwa will speak on the subject “Is the majority black entrepreneurs ready, able and willing to participate?”

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