15 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Community Share Scheme for Masvingo Today

PRESIDENT Mugabe is today expected to launch the Community Share Ownership Scheme for Masvingo Province as the indigenisation and empowerment programme gathers momentum. Masvingo will become the sixth province to have such a scheme after Mashonaland West, Midlands, Matabeleland South, Manicaland, and Mashonaland Central.

A share scheme for Mashonaland East is expected soon.

Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said this while appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women, Youth, Gender and Community Development yesterday.

"His Excellency will be launching the Masvingo Community Share Ownership Scheme in Masvingo tomorrow (today)," he said.

Minister Kasukuwere said the scheme will target mining operations at Murowa, Bikita Minerals and other business operations in five other entities.

"We are looking at seven institutions that include Murowa, Bikita Minerals and others," he said.

The minister said they will also look at problems that rocked Renco Mine and sugar producer Tongaat Huellet, a South African company that has been resisting indigenisation regulations.

"As I said, we will be going to Masvingo tomorrow (today) and it (Renco Mine issue) is one of the areas that we will be looking at.

"The company itself has not been telling the truth, it has been lying. While we do not condone activities outside the law, the company has an obligation to comply with the law."

Spouses of Renco Mine workers demonstrated against management of the firm operated by RioZim for reneging on the payment of their husband's annual bonuses and poor working conditions.

Meanwhile, Minister Kasukuwere said firms in the mining and manufacturing sectors had complied with empowerment laws.

"Overally, the majority of entities in the mining sector have complied with the indigenisation laws, including the major companies. They have realised that the only way they can have sustainable operations is by complying with the law," he said.

He said in the mining sector, at least 325 companies have complied while 80 have done the same in the manufacturing sector.

Minister Kasukuwere said the energy and tourism sectors were generally in compliance, but hit out at the financial services sector.

"The one area which has given us some challenges is the financial services sector.

"It is not about their indifference to the law but we have individuals who have gone to encourage them to disregard the law and make unwarranted statements vilifying the process.

"If we do not succeed in indigenising the financial services sector then all our efforts to indigenise the economy will be to no avail," he said.

Minister Kasukuwere said the attitude of the RBZ on the matter had also not been helpful.

RBZ Governor Dr Gideon Gono and Finance Minister Tendai Biti are on record raising concern about indigenising the financial sector.

He said it was important to address attitude problems if the empowerment drive was to succeed.

The minister defended his actions saying he was implementing the law.

"What I am doing is implementing the law, but the country is full of noisemakers who want to be seen everywhere, in churches, at funerals and speak about things they do not even know.

"The statements they are saying (criticising the empowerment drive) are ego trips. They are saying things that are against the law and are a danger even to the interests of the country," Minister Kasukuwere said.

He said financial problems continue to hamper the implementation of programmes.

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