via Company closures: Govt in major climbdown – NewsDay Zimbabwe April 1, 2016
GOVERNMENT has had a sudden change of heart and decided to put on hold a plan to revoke operating licences for all companies that have not complied with the contentious Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act.
BY STAFF REPORTER
All non-compliant foreign-owned firms had been given today as the deadline, failing which their operating licences would be cancelled.
But Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao told NewsDay in an interview yesterday that President Robert Mugabe had directed that the plan be shelved “for now”.
“In the past few days I have conferred with my principal, the President (Mugabe), regarding the Cabinet resolution to enforce compliance with the indigenisation legislation as directed by Statutory Instrument 21 of 2010.
“Given the responses and representations we have received from industry and commerce, I am pleased to tell you that the President has directed that we, at least for now, shelve the plan to allow for wider consultations,” Zhuwao said.
Asked if it was a climbdown, Zhuwao retorted: “What do you people want? The government listens to people’s concerns and you complain as much as when we ignore. We are not going to be distracted from our main goal of empowering Zimbabweans who for over a century have watched in horror as their resources were carted away, leaving nothing for them.”
Zhuwao added: “The indigenisation policy is a government programme that we are prepared to see come to fruition. No amount of Western-sponsored or factional propaganda will stop us. We will not listen to little poodles whining in the dark.”
The minister said he will hold a conference at his offices at 9:30 this morning over the changes.
Last month, Zhuwao announced Cabinet had passed a resolution to withdraw licences from all companies that had not complied with the law by today.
The announcement was met with stiff resistance from industrialists, investors, opposition parties as well as war veterans, who accused Zhuwao of sabotaging the economy and failing to understand that Zimbabwe “needs the world more than the world needs Zimbabwe”.