Zimbabwe will have an indigenised economy by 2018 – minister
Harare – Zimbabwe's minister of youth development, indigenisation and economic empowerment, Patrick Zhuwawo, has reportedly said the southern African country will have an "indigenised" economy by 2018.
According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, Zhuwawo, who is also President Robert Mugabe's nephew, had indicated his keenness to create the promised 2.2 million jobs before the end of his term.
The ruling Zanu-PF party vowed during its election campaign in 2013 it would create at least 2.2 million jobs, but the country has over the past two years seen thousands losing their jobs due to the continued deterioration of the 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.
'We shouldn't run away from the question'
But Zhuwawo said he was ready to grow the country's economy.
"We should not run away from the question: Where are the 2.2 million jobs? By the time my term of office expires, the 2.2 million jobs will be out there," Zhuwawo was quoted as saying.
Zhuwawo said the government was working on a comprehensive national economic empowerment strategy to ensure all Zimbabweans benefited from the country's indigenisation and empowerment processes.
Reports on Monday indicated that the minister had proposed 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," the state-controlled Chronicle newspaper quoted Zhuwawo as saying.
Fin24 reported on Wednesday that Zimbabwe was imposing an additional tax burden on foreign-owned companies after Zhuwawo said the proposed 10% empowerment levy to fund indigenisation and economic empowerment would be raised to 12.5% in 2017.
Higher taxation framework
Zhuwawo said the empowerment levy would raise $93m in 2016 to fund the country's cash-strapped National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund.
Foreign-owned companies in Zimbabwe are already burdened by the country’s controversial 2007 indigenisation law that states foreign-owned companies should hand over a 51% shareholding to local partners to reverse imbalances resulting from colonialism.
Zimbabwe also has a higher taxation framework compared to its peers in the region.
Mugabe’s critics say the policy is the chief cause of investor aversion with some saying the indigenisation campaign has been fraught with ambiguity and corruption on a grand scale.
Zhuwawo recently attacked the Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa over calls for foreign investment, saying requests for the injection of foreign direct investment were against Zanu-PF's indigenisation policy.