Foreign companies under scrutiny

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The National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB) will soon undertake a wide-scale compliance audit across all sectors on foreign companies to check on their compliance with the indigenisation and empowerment regulations.

NIEEB was established through an Act of Parliament to advise the minister on the government’s indigenisation and economic empowerment strategies and appropriate measures for the implementation of the empowerment guidelines.

Foreign companies had until Sunday last week to hand in plans to sell at least 51% stakes to local blacks or risk action being taken against them.
Addressing a media briefing in Harare yesterday, NIEEB chief executive officer Wilson Gwatiringa said several non-indigenous companies had not complied with the empowerment regulations as indicated by their reluctance to submit their proposals for approval.

“In order to ensure total transformation of our economy, in line with our government’s broad-based indigenisation and empowerment policy, the board will be undertaking a wide-scale compliance audit across all sectors of the economy,” Gwatiringa said.

“This will involve an indigenisation assessment rating of companies as required by section three of the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act (chapter 14:33) to determine the extent to which companies have complied with the law.

“Some of the serious consequences of non-compliance include cancellation or suspension of operating licences as well as payment of hefty fines.”

Gwatiringa said the Indigenisation Compliance Directorate set up by the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment and the Zimbabwe Republic Police would investigate, audit and where necessary recommend appropriate measures to enforce compliance with the indigenisation and empowerment legislation.

Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere has on numerous occasions warned that non-compliant companies risked being nationalised.

In recent weeks there have been heightened tensions between foreign-owned companies including Old Mutual and South Africa’s Impala Platinum and the government over the need to comply with the country’s regulations.