Saturday, February 27, 2010

(NEWZIMBABWE) Indigenisation debate closed: minister

Indigenisation debate closed: minister
by Nelson Banya
26/02/2010 00:00:00

Interview: debate on indigenisation
Part 2: Debate on indigenisation

ZIMBABWE is pressing ahead with plans to transfer control of foreign firms to local ownership despite objections that the policy would hurt the country's economic recovery, a minister said on Friday.

President Robert Mugabe's government in 2007 passed an indigenisation and economic empowerment law, before he formed a power-sharing administration with rival Morgan Tsvangirai last year, seeking to localise control of foreign firms.

Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere earlier this month directed all firms to provide details of their indigenisation plans, starting March 1, in a move that has split the unity government.

Tsvangirai, now prime minister, said the directive was "null and void" as it was done without consultations in cabinet.

But Kasukuwere told a business conference in Bulawayo that the government was moving ahead with the law, although firms that failed to submit their empowerment proposals within 45 days from March 1 would be given more time to do so.

"The debate around indigenisation is dead. We are not about to re-open the debate. It is law now," Kasukuwere said.

"There is a lot of emotionalism flying around. People who have not read the regulations are being emotional about them. We are not about to destroy the economy, far from it."

Kasukuwere said foreign investors were still welcome to invest in the country, but needed to have local partners.

"We recognise the role of foreign direct investment we need to delicately balance the two (with local participation), so we can succeed together," Kasukuwere said.

"There is no nationalisation, no seizure, there's no free-lunching. Government supports fair pricing."

He added that in implementing the empowerment law, government would consider firms' investments in technology, skills and social developments in the areas they operate.

"We will be looking at how we can treat the different sectors and considering what you have done in terms of technology transfer, skills development and social investment." - Reuters

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