Mugabe orders nephew to cut indigenisation rhetoric
HARARE, (CAJ News) – IN AN unprecedented development Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has urged his Indigenisation Minister, who is also his nephew, to stop issuing statements likely to scare away investors.
Patrick Zhuwao, Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, has been ordering foreign owned firms to comply with directives to cede at least 51 percent of their stake to indigenous locals for empowerment purposes.
The dreadlocked minister argues this would help empower the historically disadvantaged black majority.
However, Mugabe, a self-proclaimed empowerment proponent has urged Zhuwao to guard against statements that would alarm investors and worsen the country’s economic woes.
He said the role of indigenisation ministry was merely to co-ordinate implementation of the legislation by line ministers without threatening the foreign companies, especially banks.
Mugabe complained his minister’s utterances were always undermining market confidence in the country.
“The situation has also led to increase in cost of doing business, thus, further weakening the country’s economic competitiveness,” said Mugabe.
He said as far as existing businesses, in which government does not have 51 percent ownership, “compliance should be through ensuring that the local content retained in Zimbabwe by such businesses is not less than 75 percent of gross value of exploited resources”.
Last month, Zhuwao issued a decree ordering compliance by foreign-owned companies or risk losing their operating licences, resulting in panic in the economy.
Mugabe literally called his minister to keep his hands off the financial services sector.
“The banking sector shall continue to be under the auspices of the Banking Act, which is regulated by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the insurance sector under the auspices of the Provident and Insurance Act,” he said.
Zimbabwe is experiencing economic hardships blamed on controversial policies by Mugabe and his ruling Zanu (PF), in power since independence from Britain in 1980.
The country next Monday celebrates Independence Day amid unemployment estimated at 90 percent, food shortages, business closures and health sector crisis.
– CAJ News
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