Saturday, October 20, 2012

(NEWZIMBABWE, VOA) Mugabe launches Matabeleland North community share trust

COMMENT - This is from the Voice Of America, so of course the Black Empowerment Program is 'controversial' and 'some people say...', etc.

Mugabe launches Matabeleland North community share trust
18/10/2012 00:00:00
by Sandra Nyaira I VOA

RESIDENT Robert Mugabe on Thursday launched community share ownership trusts in Hwange, Matabeleland North Province, amid reports that some of the funds raised under the controversial black economic empowerment programme have allegedly been looted in some regions.

The scheme covering Hwange, Umguza, Bubi, Binga, Tsholotsho, Nkayi and Lupane was launched at the Hwange Colliery Stadium and is worth $14.5 million – a contribution from foreign-owned mining firms operating in the districts.

Government ministers, chiefs and the local communities attended the launch where Mugabe urged communities to safeguard their resources and use them for their benefit.

The president said his party and government will continue to champion the broad-based empowerment of ordinary Zimbabweans and blasted international firms he claimed are only interested in taking resources from the country without improving the lives of people at the grassroots level.

Mugabe said despite coal being discovered in Hwange over 100 years ago, local communities have only benefited as workers.

“Indigenisation is one such deliberate intervention that seeks to economically empower previously disadvantaged Zimbabweans and create conditions that enhance their economic status, democratise ownership of productive assets of the country and promote development of a competitive domestic private sector that will spearhead economic growth and development,” Mugabe said.

“Employee and community share ownership schemes are key strategies which will expose both the employee and communities into the mainstream economy and partake in benefits accruing from the exploitation of their God-given resources.”

But there have been concerns that some chiefs have been looting the community share trust funds at the expense of ordinary people, with growing calls for the trusts to publish details of how the money is spent.

Under the community trust scheme, the Matabeleland North districts will get 10 percent equity in businesses exploiting natural resources in their area.

The qualifying businesses are bringing in a cumulative sum of US$4 million in seed capital to the trusts.

Other trusts launched so far are Mhondoro-Ngezi-Zvimba; Tongogara; Matabeleland South; Mimosa and Marange-Zimunya.

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