‘Take advantage of indigenisation’

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Small-to-medium scale enterprises and co-operatives should take advantage of the ongoing indigenisation drive and partner with companies that have been asked to regularise their operations in the country.

Under the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, foreign companies operating in the country are required to sell at least 51% equity to locals.

Launching the United Nations Year of Co-operatives on Monday, Small-to-Medium-Scale Enterprises and Co-operative Development minister Sithembiso Nyoni said small business should start preparing their indigenisation plans.

“We would like to see co-operatives actively involved in the indigenisation exercise,” Nyoni said.

“We don’t want to rely on donors. As co-operatives you want partners. So who are you eyeing as your partner?”

She said co-operatives were people-driven and represented a form of democracy.

Nyoni said the government should recognise and assist cooperatives with funding, land and other resources they might require.

She said plans were underway to open a Co-operative Bank that would assist co-operatives with funding.

Nyoni said co-operatives had been pooling their resources to set up a bank to support their activities.

Zimbabwe National Co-operative Federation president Mike Duru said there were 5 250 registered co-operatives in the country.

Some of the sectors in which co-operatives operate include agriculture, fishery, housing, transport and manufacturing.

“Co-operatives’ activities are being slowed by lack of funds,” Duru said. “Give us an enabling environment and we will flourish.”

United Nations Development Programme economic adviser James Wakiaga said the country should consider going the Kenyan way to establish a co-operative bank.

“Cooperatives are unable to access funding to revamp the economy. Zimbabwe could benefit from other countries’ experiences,” he said.

Wakiaga said there was need for government to create a conducive environment to ensure that co-operatives flourish.