No going back on Zimbabwe's indigenisation policy – minister

Harare – Zimbabwe’s newly appointed minister of youth development, indigenisation and economic empowerment Patric Zhuwawohas said there is no going back in the country’s indigenisation programme, according to a report.

According to the state-controlled Chronicle newspaper, Zhuwawo, who is also president Robert Mugabe’s nephew, said the ruling Zanu-PF government would not repeal the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act.

"Apart from the Act itself, indigenisation is enshrined in the constitution first and foremost, and secondly, this government was elected on a Zanu-PF manifesto premised on indigenisation and economic empowerment," Zhuwawo was quoted as saying.

Zimbabwe’s 2007 controversial indigenisation law states foreign-owned companies operating in the country should hand a 51% shareholding to local partners to reverse imbalances resulting from colonialism.

Mugabe’s critics say the policy was the chief cause of investor aversion with some saying the indigenisation campaign had been fraught with ambiguity and corruption on a grand scale.

Empowerment levy

In a separate report, the Chronicle quoted Zhuwawo as proposing a 10% empowerment levy on companies as part of efforts to generate internal resources to fund the indigenisation programme.

"For us to be able to fund empowerment programmes in the long–term, we are proposing the introduction of an empowerment levy and we’re empowered by law to propose the law," Zhuwawo said.

However, the International Crisis Group southern African project director Piers Pigou took to social media to question Zhuwawo’s proposal.

Pigou tweeted: "Maybe Minister Zhuwao can explain how does this stimulate Zimbabwe's already suffocating economy?"

Zimbabwe has been reeling under economic hardships for more than a decade after sanctions were imposed in 2002 following rising political violence ahead of that year's presidential elections.

Zhuwawo recently attacked the Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa over calls for foreign investment.

Zhuwawo said the calls for the injection of foreign direct investment were against Zanu-PF's indigenisation policy.