Tussle over indigenisation procedures

Tussle over indigenisation procedures | The Sunday Mail 27/03/2016

Some senior Government officials are creating confusion around indigenisation and economic empowerment by fighting over control of compliance procedures, The Sunday Mail has established.

This, our sources say, has seen foreign company executives being tossed from one office to another as they race to beat the MArch 31 indigenisation proposals deadline.

Analysts commenting on the matter implored authorities to resolve the issue to avoid soiling an otherwise noble national programme.

Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Patrick Zhuwao could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Last week sources said some National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board officials wanted to retain the function of receiving indigenisation plans from companies.

On the other hand, the Zimbabwe Investment Authority is fighting to have both this and issuance of compliance certificates under its roof.

NIEEB was responsible for processing proposals until January 2016 when Government introduced new regulations requiring companies to submit plans to ZIA in line with measures to improve ease of doing business, encourage investment and accelerate implementation of indigenisation and economic empowerment.

Authorities reasoned that potential investors would immediately get acquainted with indigenisation requirements on approaching ZIA for business opportunities.

NIEEB has retained the mandate of issuing compliance certificates.

Sources said officials were refusing to share information on the indigenisation status of various companies.

As such, many firms that had complied prior to the January 2016 regulations and received certificates of compliance are now redoing the whole process.

“ZIA was supposed to issue the certificates but NIEEB refused, arguing that this must remain in their offices for the purposes of supervision.

“However, the process takes long as company executives move from one office at NIEEB to another at ZIA,” said a source.

ZIA chief executive Mr Richard Mubaiwa and his NIEEB counterpart Mr Wilson Gwatiringa would not comment on the alleged friction – and neither could they provide the latest compliance list.

Mr Mubaiwa said: “The issuing of certificates is being done by NIEEB after we confirm compliance by a company. Talk to them about the latest figures.”

Mr Gwatiringa then said, “We don’t have the figures. You can get that information from ZIA.”

Government has given foreign companies operating in Zimbabwe up to March 31, 2016 to comply with the country’s indigenisation programme or face closure.

At least 50 were said to have complied before the Easter holiday.

The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act requires shareholding of 51/49 percent weighted in favour of locals in all companies with a minimum value of US$500 000.

Section 5 of the Act prescribes action against deviants, including revoking operating licences.