Friday, November 30, 2012

(NEWZIMBABWE) Pick n Pay sabotaging economy: Chinamasa

Pick n Pay sabotaging economy: Chinamasa
29/11/2012 00:00:00
by Paradzai Brian Paradza

JUSTICE Minister Patrick Chinamasa has accused retail group Pick n Pay of deliberately sabotaging the country’s agriculture by continuing to import fresh produce from South Africa.

South Africa-based Pick n Pay acquired a 49 percent interest in TM Supermarkets last year in a US$13 million deal which was part of the group’s regional expansion programme.

But Chinamasa told an empowerment conference in Harare that the company’s operations in the country were proving detrimental to local producers and highlighted the need to restrict certain sectors of the economy to locals.

“Personally I do not see the need to celebrate and applaud foreign direct investment in the retail, wholesale and fuel sectors; those should be reserved for local investors,” he said.

“Visit any Pick n Pay supermarket and you will see that 99 percent of their goods are imported from South Africa. In fact Pick n Pay is in support of South Africa’s export strategy. They are importing lettuce, cabbages and tomatoes products which are locally produced.

“If you look at Section 25 of the Zimbabwe Investment Act you will see there are clear distinctions and the Indigenisation Act is much clearer on which sector for foreign investors and which ones for locals. We have to empower the locals and we might need to look at legal instruments available to ensure compliance.”

Chinamasa however, said there was no conflict between investment promotion and economic empowerment adding critics of the indigenisation programme were ill informed.

“This (indigenisation) is not a policy unique to Zimbabwe. Other countries have, in one way or another, implemented it and have achieved economic growth. If you look at the so-called Asian Tigers and the BRIC countries, the indigenous ownership of the economy is critical to achieving economic growth,” he said.

“Indigenisation and FDI are mutually inclusive. Other people talk carelessly of the two as if they are mutually exclusive. Indigenisation has not stopped FDI anywhere in the world. Investors are even known to go anywhere provided there is an opportunity to make money.”

Meanwhile, the government has started consultations on the 30-yearZimbabwe Broad-based Economic Empowerment Framework 2013-2042(ZIBEEP) which is expected to fine tune the current Indigenisation Act as well as value addition.

Announcing the plan, chairperson for the Research team Jane Chipika said the policy would also help transform and integrate the SMEs sector into the formal economy.

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