Thumbs up to Nhema

via Thumbs up to Nhema – DailyNews Live  3 JANUARY 2014 

A controversial proposal by the Zimbabwe government to kick out foreign shop-owners, mainly Chinese and Nigerian nationals, in order to create opportunities to locals had sent shudders through diplomats, corporate executives, investors and small-time foreign businesspersons.

Most of the attention had focused on how xenophobic the move was and what the change might mean for Zimbabwe, whose nationals are working in several African capitals.

But sanity has prevailed, and Indigenisation minister Francis Nhema has acknowledged the “very important role” foreigners were playing in providing services to impoverished Zimbabweans.

“What we are saying is: new licensing in reserved sectors, from January, will be skewed in favour of indigenous people,” said the minister.

“Those foreigners operating in the reserved sectors of our economy should continue. One needs to understand that they have played a very important role in terms of providing services to our people during their time of need.

“We encourage those already in the industry to welcome new players and assist them wherever possible; working with them in the spirit of fair competition, which can only make Zimbabwe a great nation.”

Nhema must be applauded for steering clear of demagoguery, and clarifying that no grab of foreign-owned businesses in Zimbabwe would be tolerated.

The root causes of Zimbabwe’s financial problems are unaffordable and unsustainable populist policies and corruption.

At a time when Zimbabwe desperately needs foreign investment, to pass laws that seek to kick out foreign investors, no matter how small, is the height of folly.

No foreign institution can trust the government. China on the other hand, which government is fond of hawking as an investor of choice, is very investor friendly, having opened up its markets, for example FDI in retail.

The citizens of Zimbabwe deserve better. We welcome this change of heart by government, whose policy flip-flops are increasingly becoming a cause for concern.

“We are a business community, which should follow proper business procedures and maintain sanity in our country,” Nhema said, setting the tone for the rules of engagement.

“All business takeovers should be done and finalised through the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board. It is important for Zimbabweans to understand that economic empowerment relates to the creation of wealth by locals as well as employment.

“As government, we have emphasised broad-based economic empowerment, giving access and opportunity to those who were looked at marginally in the economics of the past.”

There was escalating worry that the January 1 ultimatum for foreign shop-owners will harm Zimbabwe’s reputation with foreign investors at a time when policy makers are trying to court direct investment from abroad to help shore up the slowing economy.

The ultimatum, which attracted international media attention, was most retrograde. We are glad our policy makers have realised we do not live in isolation. We need FDI, foreign technology and capital.



  • comment-avatar
    Kuakwa Katiyo 8 years ago

    “Those foreigners operating in the reserved sectors of our economy should continue. One needs to understand that they have played a very important role in terms of providing services to our people during their time of need”

    If one doubted that this govt is hopeless and delusional there is the evidence. Nhema talks as if the country is already out of the blues hence the need to be thankful to these guys for what they did when we were in trouble. We are even worse now and this ill thought indigenization policy is already making a bad situation worse. Minister and the whole govt should be forward looking and be clear up what role these foreigners can play if any going forward.

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    John Thomas 8 years ago

    Racism is racism and cannot be justified by any argument. If you try you only end up looking stupid. If you don’t believe this look at our government. They look stupid on every occasion.

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    Clive Sutherland 8 years ago

    What zanupf says today means nothing tomorrow, they harp on about foreigners running businesses in Zimbabwe. Who gave the foreigners permanent residence\citizenship of Zimbabwe in the first place? Besides ,in the civilised world if you are granted permanent residence\citizenship of another country you are entitled to work and start up any business of your choice and you are not forced to give away 51% before you even start!
    Rio Tinto perhaps the worlds biggest Mining Company based in London, UK has massive iron ore operations in Australia, copper operations in the USA etc. These operations are fully owned by Rio Tinto, they pay billions of dollars in tax and royalties to the host countries, in fact Rio Tinto is Australia,s biggest tax payer. Zanupf needs to leave well alone the running of Mining in Zimbabwe and any other private enterprise as they have proved that they cannot run their own useless Companies!

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      Jrr56 8 years ago

      The difference is in Australia, Chile or almost all other countries the governments received the royalties/tax’s etc. and use the funds for the good of the country. Mugabe/Moyo and others stole all the funds for themselves (bought casinos, hotels, banks). Now no money hence indigenisation.

      If you are a White investor, Zimbabwean born or other beware, they know the white people might pull out, introduce targeted sanctions. If they treat the Asians or Fellow Africans the same way it will begin a Tit for Tat war. Look at SA and Xenophobia. Mugabe went white bashing and the UK took in hundreds of thousands of indigenous Zimbabweans, gave them work, homes, heath care, education.

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    but at least he has a clue of what will happen to zimbos working out of the country. thanks you are the only one in your party who has a vision . keep up the standard and let me say you are guaranteed of employment in our government in 2015 and beyond unless if you are incapacitated in any way thanks Nhema

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    Jahman 8 years ago

    As for me Zimbabwe survives because of the Diaspora community, tell me, do these foreigners take their daily takings to the bank at the close of Business? HELL NO, THEY DO NOT. So who is benefiting here?

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    Diego Zhaba 8 years ago

    This level of inconsistency is baffling to say the least. What was the reason and purpose for crafting such policy in the first place? What has really changed to take warrant backtracking on this policy. Has the government reactively gone back to the drawing board to change this policy.
    True there are certain sections of this policy that needed a revisit but not a complete turnaround.If this is what is in store for us for the next five years, then be rest assured this country will be run on an ad-hock basis and just follow people’sentiments.
    The principle to me still has a place in ensuring locals have a take on this, but would not support a chaotic approach like the land invasions. It’s a policy worth pursuing but ensuring there are proper modalities in place and people have the capacity to run and manage these businesses, but to completely shelve this is no way going to do good for us.

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    Whats wrong with us Zimbabweans, no i mean Nhema , how did he get this job, is he a relative of Bob ?