THE Zimbabwe Economic Empowerment Council (ZEEC) has called on the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Saviour Kasukuwere to use a broad-based approach in implementing the policy and ensure that many Zimbabweans get empowered.
Report by Our Staff
Speaking at the council’s national executive committee meeting in Harare last week, ZEEC president Themba Mliswa said the policy was not clear and failed to include distinct social groups such as war veterans, students and the disabled among others.
“We don’t have to apply a copy and paste method in implementing the policy,” he said.
“The people in the country must benefit from the policy not just communities.”
Mliswa said the community share trust concept was good but needed to be refined to incorporate other people who live within that community.
Mliswa also took a swipe at the Chinese, who have made inroads in many sectors of Zimbabwe’s economy, saying they should not be exempted from complying with the indigenisation policy.
“They [Chinese] have literally come here and taken over our tobacco sector through contract farming among other methods,” he said.
“They plant, reap, cure, grade, process and buy the tobacco. How then does the economy grow?”
The Chinese, he said, were obliged to comply with the indigenisation policy so that indigenous people can be directly empowered.
Mliswa said Chinese have virtually taken over the country’s economy and resources.
“There should be no sacred cows,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s indigenisation policy, which compels foreign owned companies to transfer 51% of their ownership into the hands of locals has been criticised over the manner in which it is implemented.
Critics argue that the manner in which it is being implemented is tantamount to extortion and lacks legality in the absolute sense.
Kasukuwere and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono are locked in a battle over indigenisation policy.
Gono has publicly clashed with Kasukuwere who wants to force foreign-owned banks, Barclays and Standard Chartered and South African-based Stanbic to comply with the country’s indigenisation laws.
The RBZ chief has described the Kasukuwere spearheaded programme as unworkable and its implementation as being “in a shambles” because of structural flaws.
But Kasukuwere has insisted that the policy was the best method for empowering locals.
ZEEC last year also called for the review of indigenisation plans tabled by two foreign-owned companies — BAT Zimbabwe and Unki mine — arguing that key stakeholders had been left out.
The move by the group, reflects on the hurdles faced to economically empower locals in accordance with the contentious Indigenisation and Empowerment Act.
Mliswa, said that in the BAT transaction, tobacco farmers had were left out. He said the group was to meet Kasukuwere, to register its concerns.