Thursday, September 16, 2010

(NEWZIMBABWE, REUTERS) Tsvangirai defends empowerment law

Tsvangirai defends empowerment law
by Reuters
16/09/2010 00:00:00

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said on Thursday a law to increase local black ownership of foreign firms would be implemented gradually and without forced sales.

Zimbabwe's government published regulations earlier this year forcing foreign-owned firms, including mines and banks, to transfer a 51 percent stake to black Zimbabweans, a move that divided the power-sharing government and spooked investors..

"Remember, it's willing buyer, willing seller. There's no expropriation," Tsvangirai told a conference on Zimbabwe's political and economic prospects in neighbouring South Africa's commercial capital.

Foreigners regularly cite the law as their main concern about investing in Zimbabwe, which is desperate for external capital to rebuild the economy after a decade of chronic mismanagement and decline under President Robert Mugabe.

[A decade of economic sanctions like in the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 (s.494 of the 107th US Congress), which is now being put up for repeal through the Zimbabwe Sanctions Repeal Act of 2010, introduced by Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) - MrK]

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe told Reuters in an exclusive interview earlier this month he will press ahead with plans to transfer control of foreign firms -- including mines and banks -- to local blacks.

"What's being implemented are minimum thresholds. You can't start with 51 percent," Tsvangirai said. "But you also have to say how, over time, you are going achieve the maximum threshold."

In the more immediate future, companies would have to adopt much lower levels of black ownership while presenting a road map towards ultimate black Zimbabwean majority ownership, he said.

Tsvangirai, whose MDC party is now in a power-sharing administration with arch-rival Mugabe's Zanu PF, said the government was still drawing up the thresholds for the minimum, initial levels of black ownership.

As a hypothetical example, he spoke of a minimum initial black ownership level of 10 percent for the country's key mining sector.

[That's because he is a neoliberal traitor and sellout, who is more concerned about the profitability of foreign corporations in Zimbabwe than the economic advancement of his own countrymen. - MrK]

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