Newly appointed indigenisation minister Christopher Mushohwe today said Zimbabwe is not begging for investment and investors willing to venture into the country must respect its laws.
Zimbabwe’s indigenisation and empowerment laws demand that locals be majority owners, with a minimum 51 percent shareholding in major companies operating in the economy.
The law, enacted nearly five years ago, has among other factors been blamed for the dearth of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the economy, fuelling a prolonged liquidity crunch.
Speaking after being sworn in by President Robert Mugabe, Mushohwe, a former provincial minister, said the country’s resources were worth more than any money that investors would bring in.
“The investors should not look at us as beggars, they should not expect us to give in to their demands,” Mushohwe told reporters.
“Those who want to come and invest in Zimbabwe must come and invest in Zimbabwe under the laws of Zimbabwe and surely they will get more than the value of their investment.”
Mushohwe, who replaced Francis Nhema who was fired for alleged involvement in an attempt to oust President Mugabe, backed earlier plans by government to use the country’s mineral resources as its contribution to any joint venture partnership, especially in the mining sector.
His comments fly in the face of a declaration by finance minister Patrick Chinamasa in his 2015 budget presentation that compliance to the policy will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis through line ministries and that the 51/49 mix was an aspiration and not cast in stone.
“We need to make sure that we know the value of what we have underground which we can put on the table and say this is our resource, bring in your investment,” said Mushohwe.
“Take the diamond miners for example, how much do you think they have already taken out of Chiadzwa, can you compare that with the value of the equipment that they have brought, can they complain that the little equipment they brought is more valuable than the resources they have extracted?”
Mushohwe said during his tenure, he would “protect the interests of Zimbabweans” and strive to ensure the generality of the people benefitted from the empowerment drive.
“We cannot satisfy everybody because it not possible, but we must make sure that we make a mark,” he said.
“People must see the empowered ones, which companies have been indigenised; we cannot continue to empower the elite when the generality of our people are not being empowered.”
Mushowe said government would strive to educate and train youths on how to run successful projects before providing them with financial resources.
Banks in the country have availed over $10 million under the Youth Development Fund (YDF) as part of the indigenisation initiative but most youths who have benefitted have failed to repay loans.
This led to some of the institutions suspending funding.- The Source