Cowboy attitude hurts investment: PM

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Prime Minister (PM) Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said the pressure on Zimplats to cede 29,5% to the government by next Wednesday is the price the coalition government has to pay for having no shared vision and values.

Tsvangirai told close to 800 delegates attending the two-day Zimbabwe Investment and Trade conference in Gauteng that despite a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with South Africa, Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere went on to give the platinum miner an ultimatum.

The conference is being held under the theme “Invest in Zimbabwe, Invest in a Resource-Rich and Growing Economy”.

“I know this has caused a lot of consternation, but this is a price that we are paying as a coalition government which has no shared vision and no shared values,” Tsvangirai said.

“There is some voracious appetite to grab that has caused great anxiety in the banking sector, where some in our inclusive government want to indigenise all banks. We have a raging debate whether the message we are sending is the right one.

“Is this the right message from a fragile economy wishing investment in order to create jobs for millions of its people to expand its economy?”

Tsvangirai accused Zanu PF of “twisting a noble cause into a populist election campaign”.
He said his vision was to create jobs and empower ordinary people, not a few elites.

“Wild political jingoism and unmitigated cowboy attitudes have never been a proper substitute for a true investment and empowerment plan for the people,” said Tsvangirai.

“We have to strike a delicate balance between investment promotion and the need to empower people.”

He said it was not in the interest of Zimbabweans to have an indigenisation law that enriched a few and scared away investors.

“Moreover, what we are calling community share ownership schemes in the mining sector remain mere certificates which are not translating into direct value for ordinary Zimbabweans who are surviving on less than a $1 a day,” he said.

Officially opening the conference, Economic Planning and Investment promotion permanent secretary Desire Sibanda said the event sought to restore confidence in the Zimbabwean economy which has been on a recovery path since dollarisation in 2009.

South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe Vusi Mavimbela bemoaned the lack of a strong, formal and regular interaction between the two countries.
“It is my singular conviction that we should be building many bridges of interaction and engagement between the two countries,” he said.