President Robert Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao, who is now Minister of Indigenisation and Empowerment, says there is no going back on indigenisation because this was the platform on which Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front were elected in 2013. Instead, he is proposing a 10 percent empowerment levy to generate funds for the indigenisation programme.
According to The Herald and The Chronicle, Zhuwao said companies that have already indigenised might be offered a discount on the levy.
“For us to be able to fund empowerment programmes in the long term, we are proposing the introduction of an empowerment levy and we are empowered by law to propose the levy although it can only be implemented with the approval of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development,” Zhuwao was quoted by The Herald as saying.
He said the levy could raise about $93 million a year.
When asked whether the proposed levy would not burden companies already struggling in the current environment, Zhuwao said: “I am a minister of government appointed by a president elected by the people of Zimbabwe to deliver economic empowerment to them. My job requires that I address the concerns of the people of Zimbabwe. Creating economic empowerment is a major concern for the people of Zimbabwe. I cannot advocate for the interests of foreigners ahead of people who have put me in this job.”
According to The Chronicle, Zhuwao said there was no going back on indigenisation because it was enshrined in the country’s constitution.
“There are people who believe that the Indigenisation Act will be repealed, but when the President set the legislative agenda of the Third Session of the Eighth Parliament, the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act wasn’t on the agenda.
“We’ve national leadership that’s often compromised at international workshops and seminars where they make pronouncements that the Act will be watered down. You can’t water the law down like it’s Mazoe (orange crush). It’s either repealed or enforced,” he said.
There was wide speculation that the act would be amended after Mugabe said he would introduce a raft of laws to facilitate foreign investment. He mentioned more than 10 bills that will be tabled in the current session of Parliament that are meant to ease doing business in Zimbabwe.