Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa left legislators in confusion over whether there has been a shift in the indigenisation policy when he insisted that Zimbabweans would own 100 percent of their resources but went on to say “please do not confuse ownership and control”.
There has been a lot of debate over the country’s indigenisation policy with the government insisting that there has been no relaxing of the laws while those who argue that indigenisation is hindering investment say there has been a major “climb-down” by the government.
Chinamasa said Indigenisation Minister Francis Nhema had been tasked by cabinet to do prepare a paper on aligning policy pronouncements to the law.
“I told you of a 100 percent ownership over our resources. We are 100 percent owners over minerals, land and wildlife. Outside that, no,” he said in response to questions raised in the House.
“Please do not confuse ownership and control,” he went on. “I have said all our struggles have been to assert our control over resources and that control is 100 percent. That must be understood and that is the underlining philosophy.
“What we now do with exploitation of that is a matter of policy. How we exploit our land, how we exploit state land and our minerals which are depleting, that is now going to be a policy issue. Madam President, that is what the policy is now going to regulate. How do we share the fruits?
“If you are coming to lay a golden egg, how many eggs are you laying to live in Zimbabwe? That is what is going to be the issue, whether we are talking about tourism; that is what is going to be the issue. To any investor, we are saying, what are you going to lay for us here in Zimbabwe?”
Q & A
MR. MUCHENJE: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. Can the Hon. Minister explain the policy steps that Government is taking to clarify and align the Indegenisation and Economic Empowerment Act with the policy of indigenisation in general and with the ZIM ASSET in particular? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): The question is quite a mouthful Madam Speaker but I will take time to respond to it. Let me start by saying that the Indigenisation and Empowerment Policy is a pillar of the ZANU PF Economic Policy of Government. – [HON.MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Let me repeat, the Indigenisation and Economic Policy are a pillar of Government policy in pursuing the Zimbabwe Agenda for Socio-Economic Transformation, ZIM ASSET. Let me also say that there has been some confusion, misunderstanding, misinterpretation over this policy since our elections.
Following the confusion, there has also been robust debate. I want to acknowledge Madam Speaker that, yes there has been confusion, misinterpretation and misunderstanding over this key Government policy but following this confusion, I am happy to say that there has been robust debate which is very healthy for our economy. What arguments were taking place under sub-terranean are now on the surface, are being debated and this is very good for the economy.
Madam Speaker, the confusion was clarified by His Excellency in his speech at the Independence Celebration and also in his speech at the Opening of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair. The clarification basically is that we have fought a long battle to assert our control over our resources – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
MR. MARIDADI: On a point of order Madam Speaker. The Minister is not answering the question. He is waffling; can you go straight to the answer Hon. Minister? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, I think from the beginning, the Minister told the House that he is going to take time in answering this question. So if you can give him chance so that he gets to his point.
MR. CHINAMASA: Madam Speaker, I am clarifying the policy…
*MS. CHIMENE: On a Point of Order Madam Speaker. The hon. member alleged that the Minister is waffling. The Minister is not waffling. The hon. member should withdraw his statement.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. members, may the hon. member please withdraw that statement, that is unparliamentary language.
MR. MARIDADI: I withdraw but I intended to say the Minister is answering at a tangent.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order. You must just withdraw. Hon. Minister – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): Madam Speaker, – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. members we should not be carried away, this is an august House and you have got to respect the House. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – We want to hear what is being said and the other members who are sitting at the back want to hear what the Minister is saying. Hon. Minister you may continue.
MR. CHINAMASA: Madam Speaker the economy is a very important issue in this country for everybody right across the political divide. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – It is very important that we listen to each other on this important issue. They have asked for clarification, I am giving the clarification but they do not want to hear it. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Now, that will not advance the cause of this country. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Those that are making noise. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- Madam Speaker, let me say that His Excellency clarified the confusion in his statement at the Independence celebrations and at the Trade Fair. The clarification is that, we have waged a battle to assert control over our resources and this is why we are under sanctions – [MDC HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
Madam Speaker, the Indigenisation and Empowerment policies are intended to advance our control over our resources and these are our land, minerals and wild life (tourism). It is very important that we take note of that. So, when we are talking about indigenisation, we are basically saying we have 100% control over our resources for which we have struggled for. So, any investment which comes into the sectors affecting our resources, it is very important that they know that we have 100% control over these resources.
What remains, Madam Speaker, is that any investments into these sectors land, minerals and tourism, we must discuss with a view to a win-win situation between ourselves and the investor. We recognise that investors who come here are not philanthropists, they are not into the charity business but they come to our country to make money – that we recognise. We are also saying that as they come to make money, using our assets, we also want to reap the benefits of the exploitation of those assets. So, that is the situation with respect to the mining sector.
Now, with respect to sectors outside, we have recognised and appreciated that there is a conflict in the policy clarified by His Excellency and the law. Yesterday, Cabinet took a decision that we should align the investment, indigenisation and empowerment laws to our policies as pronounced by His Excellency – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – It is very important. To this extent, Cabinet directed the Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment to take up this issue with a view to aligning the law to the policy pronouncements. He has been asked to start aligning and clarifying that position at the Politburo and Minister Nhema has been charged with that responsibility.
It is very important that as we go along, we understand the underlying philosophy behind our indigenisation policy. We must have more and more local participation in our economy and that there is no retreat over that philosophy. We must assert control over our natural resources land, minerals and wild life and on that, there will be no retreat. But where investors come with their money and equipment, we have never said and we will never say that we want a portion of that money.
What is important is that we want a win-win solution, relationship and arrangements. We also hope that underlying the alignment or policy pronouncements to the law, we also expect that we remove as much as possible any discretionary powers that we give to officials which could be a source of corruption. It is important that the policy is set out transparently in a legal framework for anyone to see without having to go from one Minister to another or from one official to another.
It is important, Madam Speaker, that we all recognise that investors do not come here for charity but are coming here to make money. It is incumbent upon all of us to lay a proper foundation and a conducive environment to receive and make them welcome. We do not want to continue hearing this story about attacking would-be investors, whether they are Chinese or European; they are all welcome. What is important – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Yes, all of them are welcome. We welcome investors from the East, West, North and South. Thank you very much.
DR. MASHAKADA: Madam Speaker, can the Minister of Finance and Economic Development confirm whether the 49-51% threshold is still in existence in view of this latter day wisdom which you have displayed?
MR. CHINAMASA: It is very clear that the hon. member has not been listening. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – First, I told you – [AN HON. MEMBER: Ari kudaro because inyaya yemari!] –
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order. Maybe for the benefit of others who have not been listening.
MR. CHINAMASA: Minister Nhema is going to do a paper to align our policy pronouncements to the law to the policy pronouncement. I told you of a 100% ownership over our resources. We are 100% owners over minerals, land and wildlife. Outside that, no –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Minister, you address the Chair. Just answer the question. I am allowing one supplementary on this question.
MR. MADZIMURE: Thank you Madam Speaker. The hon. member who asked the question was concerned about the confusion. Now, the Minister is saying the law is going to be reviewed so that on minerals and anything that has to do with land and tourism, it is going to be 100%. So, Madam Speaker, is the Minister telling us that another Bill is coming to make sure there is 100% now on top of the 51% that you already have?
MR. CHINAMASA: Please do not confuse ownership and control. I have said all our struggles have been to assert our control over resources and that control is 100%. That must be understood and that is the underlining philosophy. What we now do with exploitation of that is a matter of policy. How we exploit our land, how we exploit state land and our minerals which are depleting, that is now going to be a policy issue. Madam President, that is what the policy is now going to regulate. How do we share the fruits? If you are coming to lay a golden egg, how many eggs are you laying to live in Zimbabwe? That is what is going to be the issue, whether we are talking about tourism; that is what is going to be the issue. To any investor, we are saying, what are you going to lay for us here in Zimbabwe? Thank you.