21 March 2016

Zimbabwe: Zhuwao Threat to Shut Down Foreign Companies Insane, Says Opposition PDP

Photo: The Herald
Patrick Zhuwao.

THE opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) has dismissed as shocking and "the height of crass insanity", a threat by empowerment minister Patrick Zhuwao to shut down foreign companies operating in Zimbabwe.

Zhuwao recently imposed a widely condemned levy which targets foreign companies that have yet to comply with the government's policy for such firms to localise ownership no less that 51 percent of their Zimbabwe operations.

The minister was, at the weekend, quoted by State media threatening to shut down foreign companies which fail to pay the levy.

However, the Tendai Biti-led PDP said Zhuwao's threat was "shocking and reckless".

"Zhuwao's statement is the height of crass insanity and vindicates the PDP's position that there are no genuine reformers in Zanu PF but only looters and grabbers," said party spokesman Jacob Mafume.

Most companies had not complied with the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act as it is bad at law, he explained.

"(The) indigenisation policy is a destructive model as it is wrong to expect a company to part with 51% of its shares without equity being paid for," said Mafume.

"It is wrong to construct an indigenisation and empowerment model based on acquisition of already created wealth.

"The indigenisation and empowerment model will only ensure that the already corruptly rich in Zanu PF, get richer and no serious business person will invest in this country while thousands more people will lose their jobs.

"The correct empowerment model is to create equal opportunities and incentives for the majority in order to create wealth and employment."

To impose an additional tax on companies struggling to survive an inclement operating environment would only further hurt an already crippled economy.

"As the PDP, we reiterate our position that the indigenisation and empowerment framework does not work in Zimbabwe at a time when over 91% of the working population is out of employment," said Mafume.

"The Zanu PF's poisonous indigenization law will also affect the few remaining big companies such as; Delta, Innscor and Zimplats that are operating below capacity due to high operational costs coupled with serious power cuts."

He added: "Therefore, to add additional taxes on these companies is unsustainable and they will only choose to shutdown than pay the government levies.

"As the PDP, we urge Zhuwao to look at the reality and stop his political grandstanding."

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