Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao has accused line ministries and State agencies of derailing the implementation of the black empowerment drive by giving permits and licences of reserved sectors to foreigners.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Opening a workshop for government officials on the implementation of the indigenisation law organised by the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board, Zhuwao said a number of line ministries were not protecting local investors who wanted to venture into reserved sectors from being elbowed out by foreigners.
“A number of companies have been licensed to operate in reserved sectors against the law and government policy that they must not. We expect that the licensing authority within that reserved sector to ensure that the company seeking a permit is complaint with the law and statutes of this land,” Zhuwao said.
“There is provision in the Act for lesser shares for our indigenous people, but that has to be submitted to the line minister for approval in concurrence with Cabinet, but this has to be a special case.”
According to the indigenisation law, certain sectors of the economy have been reserved for locals and no foreign partner is allowed to invest unless Cabinet – chaired by President Robert Mugabe – approves.
The reserved sectors include retail, transport, salons and barber shops and travel agencies among other businesses that require less investment.
Zhuwao said soon the fuel sector, which has for long been in the hands of foreigners along with artisanal mining of all minerals other than diamonds, would be declared a reserved sector in a bid to empower and protect local investors.
The workshop drew participants from other ministries. Zhuwao said all foreign firms operating in the reserved sectors should brace for a fight which could include paying fines and levies.
The indigenisation law compels all foreign-owned firms to cede majority shareholding of at least 51% to indigenous people as a way of empowering the previously marginalised community.