President Robert Mugabe has again threatened to punish foreign-owned companies whose countries have placed sanctions on members of the former ruling party, Zanu PF, saying if they are to continue mining in the country then sanctions must be removed.
Speaking at the Heroes’ Day commemorations in Harare on Monday, President Mugabe said: “We can’t continue to receive the battering of sanctions without hitting back.
“We will have to discriminate against countries that have imposed sanctions against us. Why do we need companies like Rio Tinto? If they are to continue mining, then sanctions must go,” said President Mugabe.
Last week while officiating at the launch of New Zim Steel, President Mugabe also lashed out at European countries for imposing sanctions on the country.
“We do not seek exploiters in using their power to extract the resource. Companies come here in different names — Anglo American, Lonhro — digging and scooping all our wealth outside,” said President Mugabe.
“We may grow crops, maize, but cannot grow gold, asbestos and iron ore. Those are given and we must be particular about those so that they cannot be exploited. They think they rule the world. Most people are in the East. We looked West and got a battering, that’s why we have said let’s turn East.”
President Mugabe said the right to sovereign ownership of resources should find expression in various projects and programmes under the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, prioritising at the same time the promotion of small-to-medium-scale enterprises as drivers of economic growth.
“The government will also ensure that the operation of Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act will be of mutual benefit of both indigenous entrepreneurs and other investors,” said President Mugabe.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono in his supplement to the July 2011 monetary policy statement at the end of last month, said the ongoing indigenisation and economic empowerment drive should empower locals in a manner that preserves and grows the stock of already existing wealth.
He said the central bank remained opposed to any attempt to hide behind the indigenisation law, or any law for that matter, in order to commit or justify acts of economic banditry, expropriation and/or unfair practices.
“This law must not be used to multiply pockets of inefficiency, in as far as utilisation of national resources and opportunities of the country are concerned,” said Gono.
“There ought to be a deliberate bias towards, or in favour of those who have not benefited from other government programmes before, so that a broad-based empowerment model can be achieved.
Turning to the empowerment of farmers, President Mugabe said the government would look at ways of empowering A1 and communal farmers by providing subsidised input programmes to timeously prepare for the cropping season so as to increase productivity.