Thursday, February 18, 2010

(NEWZIMBABWE) Mutambara: PM must zip it on indigenisation

Mutambara: PM must zip it on indigenisation
18/02/2010 00:00:00

THE Zimbabwe government has taken steps to end the confusion over its indigenisation laws by centralising communication over the policy, the Deputy Prime Minister said last night.

Arthur Mutambara said a Council of Ministers meeting last Thursday resolved to defer all communication to Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere – a key proponent of the rules which will force foreign-owned companies to cede majority shareholding to “indigenous Zimbabweans”.

“No one else, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister or Ministers, no one else is mandated to speak on this matter as per our council decision,” Mutambara told SW Radio Africa on Thursday.

Last week, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the regulations were “counter-productive”, insisting that the policy – based on a 2008 law – was engineered by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party without input from the two MDC parties.

In a direct response to Tsvangirai’s stance, Mutambara said: “Any communications from anyone after Thursday last week you must disregard.

“The only person speaking on behalf of the government of Zimbabwe in terms of this matter of indigenisation is Minister Kasukuwere.

“Disregard the comments from the Prime Minister’s Question Time (newsletter), disregard that.”

Mutambara said ministers had resolved to “internally channel” their “comments and suggestions” on the legislation to Kasukuwere. The minister will also take submissions from the private sector, Mutambara added.

“We shall be able to come up with a harmonised position to be communicated by the minister and no-one else,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

On Wednesday, President Robert Mugabe showed the widening gulf between him and Tsvangirai over the policy when he declared that investors opposed to the law were “foolish”.

"Forty nine percent (foreign shareholding), it's a hell lot of equity ... wise ones will take it up," Mugabe said.

But the government’s apparent willingness to keep the door ajar to critics of the legislation will warm apprehensive foreign investors, particularly in mining and banking, who could soon be forced to give up 51 percent shareholding to locals.

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