HomeNewsChinamasa raps Pick ‘n’ Pay

Chinamasa raps Pick ‘n’ Pay

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JUSTICE minister Patrick Chinamasa has discounted the economic benefits of South Africa’s retail giant Pick ‘n’ Pay’s investment in the country’s retail sector, which he said must be reserved for locals.

Report by Bernard Mpofu Chief  Business Reporter

Addressing delegates at a national economic empowerment conference in Harare yesterday, Chinamasa said the participation of foreign-owned retail chains on the domestic market would not grow the economy on the back of a ballooning import bill.

Experts say Zimbabwe needs more foreign direct investment to ease the liquidity constraints besetting the economy.

Pick ‘n’ Pay opened its first branch in the country in June after injecting $1, 5 million.

“There is no reason why we should applaud foreign direct investment into the retail sector or wholesale sector or fuel procurement sector and ginning of cotton to give just a few examples,” Chinamasa said.

“I don’t think foreign direct investment should be entertained in these sectors.

“The coming into the country (for instance of) Pick ‘n’ Pay, if I may just give one example, is not the kind of foreign direct investment that would be in the interest of the country.

“If you visit any Pick ‘n’ Pay outlet, you will find out that 99% of the stock is imported from South Africa.

“Pick ‘n’ Pay is in a sense following or implementing South Africa’s export strategy.

“To grow our economy, we should have reserved the retail and wholesale sectors exclusively for the indigenous population and do this immediately and overnight.”

South Africa’s apparel retailer Jet Stores became one the first to open its branches in the country since the adoption of multiple currencies in 2009.

He said as the country builds its technological, human and financial capacities, it would “progressively elbow out foreign investment over time”.

“The powers to all these things are in the Zimbabwe Investment Authority Act and the Indigenisation and Economic empowerment Act,” he added.

He added that his ministry would push for the harmonisation of the empowerment and investment laws after it emerged that mixed messages were being sent to investors.

“After the next harmonised elections, a strong recommendation should be made to his Excellency the President, to assign both Acts to one minister to administer,” Chinamasa said.

Zimbabwe is expected to go for polls next March in an election expected to mark an end to the tenure of the inclusive government formed four years ago.

FDI currently accounts for 3% of the country’s GDP from an all time high of 25%.

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