HomeLocal News‘Indigenisation law will not be amended’

‘Indigenisation law will not be amended’

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INDIGENISATION and Economic Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukurewere has vowed not to amend the country’s controversial indigenisation laws, threatening to take stern action against foreign-owned banks which are yet to comply with Zimbabwe’s equity laws.

REPORT BY BERNARD MPOFU/KUPAKWASHE MAKONYE

Addressing guests at the signing ceremony for the terms agreement between the country’s largest platinum miner, Zimplats, and government, Kasukuwere warned that the State would rein in banks that fail to dispose of controlling stakes in line with empowerment laws.

Foreign-owned companies are required to sell a 51% stake to locals under the country’s indigenisation and empowerment legislation enacted in 2008. Zimplats is a unit of Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed Impala Platinum (Implats).

“I would like to encourage other companies, particularly in the banking sector, to comply with our laws as no-compliance will no longer be tolerated,” said Kasukuwere.

“Uncalled-for defiance and arrogance will not be tolerated as all companies must respect the law and desist from provoking the State.

“There will be no sacred cow spared, no stone unturned to ensure that the policies are fully implemented”
His remarks come as the MDC-T insists government was working on amending the equity law amid criticism that it was discouraging foreign direct investment.

Yesterday Zimplats agreed to dispose of its 51% shareholding to locals in a transaction valued at $971 million. The National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund will have 31% while the Zimplats Employee Share Ownership Trust and Community Share Ownership Trust will have 10% apiece.

Kasukuwere said some government officials “have been peddling falsehoods that the law will be amended to make exemptions for investments in certain areas of the economy”.

“The law will not be amended and not the least because there is no need to do so,” he said.

“. . . We have shown that the provisions of the law allow government to lower the threshold of indigenisation in areas such as massive investments for a certain period of time.

“Unfortunately, despite our overtures to implement this regime, our colleagues have continued to engage in cheap politicking and unnecessarily confusing the investors.”

Speaking at the same function, Implats group chief executive officer Terrence Goodlace said the signing of the deal was expected to ease investor uncertainty on Zimbabwe.

“I am, despite the hard times, excited about the future for Zimplats and platinum mining in Zimbabwe. To start with, the uncertainty that had dogged Zimplats during negotiations is now hopefully a thing of the past,”Goodlace said.

As of November, the white metal dominated mineral exports contributing $689 million out of $2,4 billion total ex
ports made by the capital-intensive sector.

According to the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board, over 1 300 firms have submitted compliance plans and out of this, only 350 applications have been approved.

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