via Zimbabweans accused of blocking indigenisation | The Herald December 23, 2015
FOREIGN investors are open to indigenisation while Zimbabwean private sector executives and some senior Government officials are the most vocal critics of the initiative aimed at empowering and improving the participation of indigenous people in the economy, a top Government official said last Thursday.
The indigenisation and empowerment drive, which was introduced more than five years ago, states that locals be majority owners in major enterprises operating in the economy, controlling a minimum of 51 percent.
The drive has, however, been criticised by locals who view it as an obstacle and major reason why there has been a dearth of foreign direct investment in the country in the past few years.
But Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment permanent secretary George Magosvongwe told stakeholders at a workshop aimed at improving the business environment in the country last week, that foreign investors were willing to comply with the law.
“Indigenisation is not a dirty word, it is not a swear word,” he said.
“We have not had problems with foreigners declining and refusing to co-operate on indigenisation. Our greatest problem, our opponents have been internal, inside the fort.”
Mr Magosvongwe added: “The spokesmen of foreigners in this country are our own people, who include chief executive officers and sometimes within Government, our own senior officials. They are frightened on behalf of foreigners.”
He said engagements with foreign investors on the intent of the law and compliance had been positive but the “spokespersons” had created fear of the indigenisation process.
Explaining why the law was enacted, Mr Magosvongwe said Government had found it necessary to empower indigenous people who at one time had been disadvantaged through colonialism.
Mr Magosvongwe’s remarks follow hard on the heels of remarks by President Mugabe that Government would next year not tolerate any foreign-owned companies that were still dilly-dallying to comply with the law.
“There are some companies in this country that still refuse to accept our empowerment policy in the mining sector,” President Mugabe said last week in Victoria Falls during ZANU-FP’s annual conference.
Deputy chief secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Dr Ray Ndhlukhula said the only problem with indigenisation were “distortions” on the intentions of the law which were being peddled by people opposed to it. — New Ziana.