Saturday, January 12, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) MDC-T misleading investors: Kasukuwere

MDC-T misleading investors: Kasukuwere
12/01/2013 00:00:00
by Gilbert Nyambabvu

EMPOWERMENT Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has accused the MDC-T of engaging in cheap politics over the country’s indigenisation programme and ruled out changes to the policy which has divided the coalition administration.

The MDC-T saysvowed to ditch the programme if it comes into power after the next election, arguing the policy does not address the country’s investment crisis and runaway unemployment of over 80 percent.

The programme forces foreign companies to cede majority ownership of their Zimbabwe operations to locals with Zanu PF insisting this was necessary to address historical imbalances in the control of the country’s economy.

And speaking at the conclusion of platinum miner, Zimplats’ US$1 billion compliance plan, Kasukuwere said claims by the MDC-T that the enabling legislation for the programme would be amended to exempt some companies were inaccurate and an attempt to mislead investors.

“Some of our colleagues in Government have been peddling falsehoods that the law will be amended to make exemptions for investments in certain areas of the economy. The law will not be amended because there is no need to do so,” he said.

“We have shown that the provisions of the law allow Government to lower the threshold of indigenisation in areas such as massive investments for a certain period of time.

“Unfortunately despite our overtures to implement this regime our colleagues have continued to engage in cheap politicking and unnecessarily confusing the investors.”

The deal with Zimplats, owned by the world’s second largest platinum miner Implala Platinum (Implats), has turned out to be one of Kasukuwere’s key successes after critics warned that major investors could leave the country or scale back expansion programme to protest the forced seizure of their assets.

The Zanu PF minister said the government was paying “full value” for the shares and dismissed claims the programme was only benefiting an already wealthy elite.

“Shares in non-indigenous business, as in this transaction, are acquired under the programme for full value and this has been demonstrated through a series of transactions that have been concluded with major investors,” he said.

“The indigenisation programme in the main does not benefit elite indigenous persons, but rather broad based groups of indigenous Zimbabweans,” he said.

“To date, my ministry has achieved for communities around the country the value in the form of shares in mining companies in excess of US$1 billion.

“It is therefore apparent that the greatest beneficiaries of the programme to date are not well-to-do individuals, but broad masses.”

Terence Goodlace, chief executive of the South Africa-based Implats, said the Zimplats deal ends the uncertainty which had clouded the company’s operations adding a US$460million expansion exercise remained on course.

“I am, despite these hard times, excited about the future for Zimplats and platinum mining in Zimbabwe. To start with, the uncertainty that had dogged Zimplats during the negotiations is now hopefully a thing of the past,” he said.

“The participation of Zimbabweans at a shareholding level will create a sense of ownership as our partners become actively involved in the extraction of platinum group of metals, which will remain a critically important aspect of the country’s mineral development.”
Kasukuwere said he would now target the country’s banking sector, warning that the government would not tolerate any defiance.

“I would like to encourage other companies, particularly in the banking sector, to comply with our laws as no-compliance will no longer be tolerated,” he said.

“Uncalled-for defiance and arrogance will not be tolerated as all companies must respect the law and desist from provoking the State.
“There will be no sacred cow spared, no stone unturned to ensure that the policies are fully implemented.”


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