8 May 2011

Zimbabwe: Indeginisation Sparks Company Closures

Photo: Allafrica
Harare skyline

Zimbabwe's black empowerment lobby group has accused foreign owned companies of sabotaging the controversial indigenisation policy by deliberately closing shop and stripping assets to avoid take-over.

Affirmative Action Group (AAG) regional treasurer, Elias Mashava on Wednesday said the indigenisation drive faces a setback if no action was taken against the companies.

"We have a situation here where some companies are deliberately closing, stripping assets and selling machinery so that they are not included when the indigenisation drive is in full swing.

"The government should take action against such companies who want to sabotage the black empowerment policy," Mashava told business leaders attending a business conference at the just ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.

Prince Mupazviriho, the Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment permanent secretary said the ministry had received information on companies that were closing shop to evade the empowerment laws.

Mupazviriho and Mashava could however not name the "culprits".

The one day conference on Wednesday was held alongside the country's annual premier trade showcase.

The conference, opened by Vice President Joyce Mujuru, was held under the theme "Optimising Growth Synergies in an Emerging Investment Destination: Turning Opportunities into Value.'

Deputy Prime Minister, Thokozani Khupe among other government Ministers attended the conference.

President Mugabe has vowed to forge ahead with plans to handover 51% of shareholding of white owned companies to blacks to enable locals to own the country's resources.

Mugabe at the launch of the anti-sanctions campaign urged party supporters to seize foreign owned companies as way of pushing the West to remove sanctions slapped on him and his close allies.

The veteran ruler argues that seizures of white-owned farms and now the indigenisation programme serve as concrete and living examples of empowerment programmes designed chiefly to redress the historic imbalances in ownership of the economy.

The MDC-T and critics have expressed concern that the black empowerment programmes will chase away much needed investment and fear that like the land reform programme, Mugabe's loyalists would benefit.

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