Zimbabwean industry
and commerce minister
Welshman Ncube
 
Harare, Zimbabwe — MININGREVIEW.COM — 04 March 2010 – Zimbabwe’s unity government is reviewing its newly-introduced rules forcing foreign-owned firms to sell a majority stake to locals, and the regulations “’ which came into force this week “’ were published prematurely.

“Those regulations were published prematurely,” industry and commerce minister Welshman Ncube told business executives here.

The regulations give foreign-owned companies, including banks and mines, 45 days to submit proposals on how they plan to sell 51% of their shares to black Zimbabweans within the next five years.

Industry executives fear the empowerment drive will discourage foreign investment at a time when the new administration is seeking to attract funds to revive an economy that has suffered from a decade of decline.

The minister pointed out that the rules had not been submitted to a cabinet committee for debate on their legality and on whether they were consistent with government policy. The committee would then have to make recommendations to the government.

“That did not take place. It is now taking place and all the ministers will be asked to make contributions,” Ncube said.

Last week President Mugabe defended the local ownership laws, while Prime Minister Tsvangirai said last month that they were "null and void" because they had been implemented without consultations in cabinet.

“We have consensus that there is need for indigenisation, but we have no consensus yet on how we should achieve that indigenisation in a manner that empowers our people while growing the economy. We don’t have that consensus in the inclusive government,” said Ncube.