30 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Embrace Indigenisation - DPM Mutambara

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has thrown his weight behind Government's economic empowerment programmes saying there is nothing wrong with the indigenisation.

Addressing delegates during the launch of the British American Tobacco employee share ownership trust in Harare on Wednesday, DPM Mutambara slammed the opponents of the programme and saluted the President whom he described as "a great empowerer."

He said the liberation struggle, strides made in the education sector and the land reform programme were all forms of empowerment geared towards economic emancipation.

"There is nothing new or foreign with what we are doing (economic empowerment). All Zimbabweans should embrace this tradition of empowering our people. There has been a huge debate in our country on whether we should have economic empowerment or jobs. In fact, our economic empowerment should create jobs. We need both economic empowerment and jobs," DPM Mutambara said.

He added: "We are sick and tired of being employees. We want to be job creators. We want to be owners of BAT. In this country we must have jobs. We should also have economic empowerment. There should be synergies."

DPM Mutambara slammed companies that equated corporate social responsibility to empowerment, saying Zimbabweans were not a charity case.

"Forget charity, we want the phrase called corporate social responsibility banned in this country. By corporate social responsibility, you are implying that you are apologising for your profits.

"In this country, we do not want you to feel sorry for us. We are villagers who are keen on shareholding. We want dividends," he said, to a thunderous applause from delegates.

DPM Mutambara praised the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces for being a great "empowerer" as evidenced by achievements made in education, agrarian reform and now the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme underway.

In turn, President Mugabe acknowledged DMP Mutambara's intelligence and re-conditioning from a violent student leader at the University of Zimbabwe to a philosopher.

"Once a stone thrower now a thrower of philosophical ideas and wise words, we are glad we have a man of various skills," he said.

Meanwhile, Indigenisation, Youth Development and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has warned foreign companies that are yet to comply with the law to urgently do so as the regulations were irreversible.

He said more than 120 mining companies had since complied with the regulations.

Minister Kasukuwere said it was Government's intention to have indigenised all the mines by the first quarter of 2013.

He said employee shareholding schemes were part of the economic empowerment programme. Minister Kasukuwere reiterated that the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme was not "an enemy to foreign direct investment".

The MDC-T is strongly opposed to black empowerment.

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