Friday, September 18, 2009

(HERALD) Govt seeks to empower indigenous people: minister

Govt seeks to empower indigenous people: minister
Business Reporter

GOVERNMENT is not after expropriation and nationalisation of foreign-owned assets and companies through indigenisation laws, but seeks to empower its people, the Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Empowerment Saviour Kasukuwere told the Mining Indaba on Wednesday.

Minister Kasukuwere said by ensuring the participation of local people in the mainstream economy, the Government guaranteed peace and security.

He said the Government was against what happened in Nigeria’s Niger Delta where the deprived majority ended up using violent ways to get access to the rich oil mineral resource in their respective communities.

Against this background he said indigenisation laws would not parcel out stakes in foreign owned companies to locals for free, but locals would pay the asking price for a stake in any foreign owned company or business.

Minister Kasukuwere said Government would not embark on wanton disregard of property rights and laws in the name of indigenisation and empowerment.

"This country is safe; this country has laws which are still functioning. I assure you, if you went to someone’s home and stole you would certainly be arrested.

"Indigenisation is both a political and economic issue. Look at Nigeria. What happened in the Niger Delta?

"For us to come up with a solution empowerment is necessary in broadening the economic base. We can broaden the economic base by making sure that large group of people is empowered at the same time.

"We are saying we want to partner you and work together to grow the cake. We are saying how do we ensure the majority takes part in the economy?

"We are not talking about expropriation or nationalisation of foreign assets," said Minister Kasukuwere.

He said the issue of indigenisation should not be confused with what happened with the land reform.

"Indigenisation should not be confused with the land reform programme.

"The land issue started at the Lancaster House Conference that spelt out who had what obligations.

"Others however reneged on their obligations and the rest is history," he said.

Minister Kasukuwere said Government had the obligation to ensure that the majority benefited from some of the resources taken from their communities. He said that the issue of empowering local people by ensuring that they participated in the mainstream economy required stakeholders to engage and address the issue rather then "bury heads in the sand" and wish it away.

Other delegates at the Mining Indaba however said there was need for Government to expedite the process of finalisation of empowerment and indigenisation laws and amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act.

They said this was critical for investors to have a clear picture of where they would be treading when they decided to invest in the local economy.

Minister Kasukuwere responded to the remarks saying that Government was taking time to finalise the laws as it sought to consider and incorporate the views of stakeholders and the investor community.

"We need to engage and deal with the issues. This Act is well meaning, this Act is meant to bring peace and security, this Act is for all of us to benefit," he said.

Minister Kasukuwere said indigenisation was a process and not an event, and as such, investors needed to engage Government on how this could be achieved in a mutually beneficial way.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home