Thursday, April 25, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) No indigenisation u-turn: Kasukuwere
24/04/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

EMPOWERMENT Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has insisted that ownership deals reached with major mining companies remain unchanged and dismissed reports he was planning legislative tweaks to enable the takeover of foreign companies without compensation.

"The ministry has not changed this legislative framework and reports to the contrary are misleading and misguided," Kasukuwere told reporters in Harare on Wednesday.

Under the indigenisation programme, foreign companies must transfer ownership and control of at least 51 percent of their Zimbabwe operations to locals with the beneficiaries expected to pay fair value for the equity.

But the State-run Sunday Mail reported that the government was working on changes to the legislative framework in order to remove the requirement for compensation with regard to mining companies since mineral resources belonged to Zimbabweans.

Observers said if implemented, the changes would invalidate compliance agreements reached with platinum producers Angle American and Impala Platinum as well as the local unit of a Canada-based junior gold producer.

But Kasukuwere said he would continue to engage with the companies on the basis of deals already agreed but insisted that the “term sheets” were however non-binding.

“With the view to achieve a 51 percent indigenisation shareholding requirement, on a mutually beneficial basis and in line with this my ministry continues to engage the major mining companies on the basis of the term sheets which we signed in 2012 and part of 2013,” he said.

“As previously stated, the term sheets are non-binding and subject to negotiation and approval by the relevant government authorities. We are engaged with these companies to make sure that we bring then in line with the expectations of our nation in terms of the resource value. This is subject to us discussing with key ministries and relevant bodies.

“This is work in progress and proposals which are being done on a daily basis will not change the course of what we are trying to do and what the government has mandated us to do and we believe that we will continue to engage with the business community to achieve the expectations of the law and of our country.”

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