via Foreign firms scramble to meet deadline | The Sunday Mail 27/03/2016
THERE is frenzied activity with companies working around the clock to submit indigenisation and empowerment proposals before the Thirsday deadline.
The Indigenisation and Empowerment Act – enacted in 2008 and operationalised on March 1, 2010 – requires foreign-owned companies valued at more than US$500 000 to be at least 51 percent owned by indigenous Zimbabweans.
Last year, Government directed all foreign firms to submit their indigenisation proposals by December 31, 2015, but the deadline was extended to March 31, 2016. Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Patrick Zhuwao last week said any company that failed to submit a proposal would not open for business on April 1.
He indicated that Statutory Instrument 21 of 2010 in fact specified that companies should have submitted their plans by March 1, 2015.Government feels that some companies have been dragging their feet, opting instead to pay the Indigenisation Compliance and Empowerment Levy in the hope that the law would be reviewed.
The Empowerment Levy, designed as a disincentive to firms that failed to submit proposals by the deadline, was scrapped last week.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Mr Davison Norupiri told The Sunday Mail Business that most foreign companies were preparing their proposals before the deadline.
“Quite a number of foreign-owned companies are actually preparing to make their submissions; they are prepared to comply before the deadline. There is no resistance as such but you find that there are some processes; each and every company has its own policies and consultations which have to be made with head offices. So they are consulting. Quite a number of our members had already complied. Remember, deadlines were set before, during Minister Kasukuwere’s time, and our members had already complied. It is only a few who are now working with their foreign offices in order to regularise. So there is no resistance whatsoever, we have not yet received any records of resisting compliance but we have received records of seeking clarification,” said Mr Norupiri.
Similarly, Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe CEO Mr Isaac Kwesu said mining firms would submit proposals as the first stage of complying with Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Regulations.
He noted that the Thursday deadline was not for full compliance but rather for submission of proposals.
“When submitting the proposals, it does not mean the proposals must be accepted. I think there is some misconception around those issues. One can even submit the proposal and say I am not indigenising; it’s a proposal. I am just quoting the minister’s statement (when he announced the framework); you would have complied with the first stage, so I don’t think this would be a big issue because in the past, most miners submitted their proposals, only that these proposals were being declined or rejected. All they have to do is resubmit because what they submitted in the past expired. . . but I think it’s something that can take a few minutes to come up with a proposal and submit something to say ‘this is what we want to do’. We agree or disagree,” said Mr Kwesu.
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