via Nhema to review Zimplats indigenisation deal | SW Radio Africa by Nomalanga Moyo November 1, 2013
The Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Zimplats) says new Indigenisation Minister Francis Nhema is set to review its indigenisation plans.
A brief statement by Zimplats simply said: “Following the installation of a new Government, the company’s indigenisation plan will now be reviewed by the new Minister of Indigenisation.
“These discussions will also include further engagement on the previously announced land acquisition by government.”
Earlier this year, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu announced that government had repossessed 27,948 hectares of land belonging to Zimplats, and offered it to other investors.
Mpofu ruled out any compensation for Zimplats, a subsidiary of South African mining giant Impala Platinum Mines (Implats).
Mpofu’s announcement came just a month after Zimplats had been coerced to give up 20% of its stake under the employee and community trusts, and 31% to a state-run National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund.
This agreement was spearheaded by then Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, as part of the country’s indigenisation legislation which requires foreign-owned firms to cede 51% of their stake to locals.
But since taking over the Indigenisation Ministry, Nhema has adopted what analysts see as a “softly-softly approach”, and indicated that he will be looking at ways of relaxing the indigenisation law to make it investor-friendly.
Many industry captains have welcomed this approach, with analyst Trevor Maisiri saying appointing Nhema to the ministry could be President Robert Mugabe’s way of bringing ‘sanity’ to the controversial empowerment ministry.
Abednico Bhebhe, the MDC-T shadow Mines Minister, agreed, and told SW Radio Africa that it does appear as if Nhema has been “silently instructed to review the indigensation policy.”
“The whole indigenisation issue was an excuse by ZANU PF officials to grab some stakes from mines such as Zimplats.
“But with the election season over, they are now facing reality and are realising that their indigenisation laws are not good for any investment.
“So Nhema has somewhat been silently instructed to review those laws to try and make them more accommodative. We wait to see how far this review will go,” Bhebhe said.
The MDC-T official, also MP for Nkayi South, revealed that Zimplats had already offered to enter into a joint venture that would see the mining concern building a platinum refinery in the country.
Meanwhile, the latest World Bank report has revealed that Zimbabwe has dropped two positions to 170 out of 185 countries on the ‘ease of doing business’ scale, according to the latest World Bank 2014 report.
The report also indicates that starting a business in the country requires nine procedures, takes 90 days, costs 141,2% of income per capita and requires paid-in minimum capital of 0,0% of income per capita
“Globally, Zimbabwe stands at 109 in the ranking of 189 economies on the ease of getting credit,” said the World Bank.