Home » Governance » Govt Plans 100 Percent Control of Minerals

FINANCE minister Patrick Chinamasa has Wednesday that the government would tweak the country’s indigenisation laws to ensure that land and minerals are owned 100 percent by Zimbabweans.

Cabinet has already directed Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Francis Nhema to realign the Indigenisation and Empowerment laws in line with the new government policy.

The announcement comes barely a week after Mines Minister told the Chamber of Mines AGM last week indigenisation for the mining sector would remain 51 to 49 percentage ratio, emphasising that “the investors have understood that.”

However, responding to questions in Parliament Wednesday, Chinamasa said he had been asked to clarify the position of government in the wake of a series of conflicting pronouncements on the empowerment programme which requires indigenous Zimbabweans to have controlling stakes in all companies.

“There has been confusion over the policy since elections,” said Chinamasa.

“I acknowledge the confusion and the debate that has been happening underground is now on the surface and the debate has been robust.

“However the position has been clarified by the President first at the Independence celebrations and the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).

“The President has said the Indigenous policy is intended to aance our control over the resources. These resources are land, minerals and tourism. We are basically saying we have 100 percent of our resources.”

More confusion emerged about the indigenization and empowerment policy last week after a junior minister told Parliament government had no intention of revising the law.

The claim contradicted what appeared to be a major climb-down when Nhema said the government would soon table before Cabinet proposals to deal with foreign ownership on a sector-by-sector basis.

Nhema was quoted as saying government would balance time-frames guiding the transfer of majority stakes in foreign-owned firms to locals with the new investors’ ability to pay for the shareholding.

He said the problem with time-frames was that indigenous players could fail to raise the funds for their 51 percent stake within that time which meant a one-size-fits-all approach was not ideal.

Since taking over the controversial indigenisation portfolio from Saviour Kasukuwere, Nhema has adopted a “softly-softly approach” and indicated his willingness to relax the investor-hostile policy.

Zimbabwe’s indigenisation laws compel foreign mining companies to transfer 51 percent of their local businesses to Zimbabweans with critics warning that the programme could aersely impact economic growth.

“Government’s understanding is that while there is temporary dilution it will have a plan through which they can increase local participation over a given period.

“Government was determined to ensure that indigenous Zimbabweans held majority stakes in all business ventures and no sector will be exempted from the law,” said Tongofa.

Chinamasa said Nhema was already working on a sector-by-sector indigenisation programme as a way of luring foreign investors into the country.

“We are (also) inviting investment in water, power generation, roads, railway network, irrigation infrastructure, information and communication technology and the government will invite operators through build-operator-transfer skills,” Chinamasa said.

“Indigenisation minister Francis Nhema will put a proposal to the Cabinet, sector by sector, and government is quite comfortable with the injection of foreign capital in the banking sector because it will increase the volume of credit to the productive sector.”

Source : New Zimbabwe