The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Community Trusts in Bid to Achieve Transparency

VARIOUS Community Share Ownership Trusts will soon float tenders for services of fund managers, auditors and legal representatives to ensure professional administration of the trusts overseeing the implementation of the empowerment programme.

Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said the move sought to achieve transparency and growth of the trusts. The trusts would also be required to publish financial statements.

The Community Share Ownership Trusts is a countrywide Government initiative spearheading development and empowering rural communities by giving a 10 percent stake in all businesses that exploit natural resources in their area.

"The trusts will soon float tenders for a legal companies, fund managers, auditors and financial advisors (for their professional services)," said Minister Kasukuwere. "We expect to see a graduation . . . doing more than just building schools."

So far Community Share Ownership Trusts have been launched in Mhondoro/Ngezi, Zvishavane, Shurugwi, Gwanda and Marange, Mashonaland Central and Hwange under the ongoing indigenisation and empowerment.

Anglo Platinum, which owns Unki Mine, ceded 10 percent shareholding of the Shurugwi-based platinum firm in addition to seed capital amounting to US$10 million.

Mimosa and Zimbabwe Platinum Mines came up with the Zvishavane and Mhondoro-Ngezi community share ownership trusts respectively. Both trusts got US$10 million seed capital each and 10 percent stake in the respective companies.

In Gwanda, 15 mining companies donated US$5 million seed capital and ceded shares to the trust. The companies also pledged to give 10 percent of their annual profits to communities under the Gwanda Community Share Ownership Scheme.

The Mashonaland Central Community Share Ownership Trust saw the Bindura community getting US$10 million seed capital from Freda Rebecca Mine while the Guruve community received US$1 million from Paza Buster (Pvt) Ltd.

Magobo Milling Company donated US$100 000 to Shamva, while another milling company, Canterbury, chipped in with US$50 000. Other areas that are set to benefit under the share trusts include Mt Darwin, Rushinga, Mazoe and Mbire.

Five companies extracting diamonds in Marange came up with Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership and US$50 million for the communities.

The Matabeleland North Share Ownership Scheme covers Hwange, Umguza, Bubi, Binga, Tsholotsho, Nkayi and Lupane. Mining companies operating in these communities received seed capital for developmental projects amounting to US$14,5 million.

Most of the trusts now have asset portfolios worth several millions. Meanwhile, Minister Kasukuwere has urged banks, who are the custodians of the empowerment funds, to come up with financing facilities to support youths and women.

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