Were foreign investors given 30 days or five years to indigenise?

The media has been abuzz with news that Robert Mugabe, the man who “grabbed” farms from white owners more than a decade ago, is at it again. This time he is grabbing foreign-owned businesses in 30 days.

But has Mugabe given foreign-owned business owners 30 days to sell majority shareholding to locals or were they given ample time, but relaxed thinking there might be a change in policy, and now only have 30 days left to comply.

According to the Indigenisation Regulations which sought to explain the controversial Indigenisation Act, foreign owned- companies were given five years to comply.

The regulations came into effect on 1 March 2010.

But even if investors thought that indigenisation might be relaxed if there was a change of government, they had five months to review their positions after the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front won the polls on the indigenisation ticket.

But this is Zimbabwe. All the basic tenets of journalism are conveniently ignored. Anyone can write anything. And they are having a field day.

There have even been reports that the ultimatum is a way divert people’s attention from the serious liquidity crunch that the country is facing.

The regulations, under the third schedule, also clearly stated the sectors that were reserved against foreign investment in favour of indigenous Zimbabweans. These were:

  1. Agriculture: primary production of food and cash crops.
  2. Transportation: passenger busses, taxes and car hire services.
  3. Retail and wholesale trade.
  4. Barber shops, hairdressing and beauty saloons.
  5. Employment Agencies.
  6. Estate Agencies.
  7. Valet services.
  8. Grain milling.
  9. Bakeries.
  10. Tobacco grading and packaging.
  11. Tobacco processing.
  12. Advertising Agencies.
  13. Milk processing.
  14. Provision of local arts and craft, marketing and distribution.

Attached is a copy of the Indigenisation Regulations that were widely circulated by Veritas an organisation that provides information on the work of the Parliament of Zimbabwe and the Laws of Zimbabwe and makes public domain information widely available in 2010.



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