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Zimbabwe revises foreign company ownership rules

Zimbabwean indigenisation
& economic empowerment
minister Saviour
Harare, Zimbabwe — MININGREVIEW.COM — 23 June 2010 – As urged by mining industry officials, the Government of Zimbabwe has revised rules requiring foreign firms to transfer majority control to local blacks, with varying shareholding thresholds being set for different sectors of the economy.

The unity government of president Robert Mugabe and prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai was deeply divided earlier this year after the publication of regulations forcing foreign-owned firms “’ including mines and banks “’ to transfer a 51% stake to black Zimbabweans. But Mugabe told a mining conference last month that the government was refining the controversial law in a bid to shore up desperately needed investment.

Indigenisation and economic empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere has now told reporters that the government will publish amended regulations on Friday detailing how foreign firms should achieve majority control by locals. Kasukuwere, a Mugabe ally, said the amended rules had been agreed by the unity government after extensive consultations.

“We’ve agreed on the process of setting up committees to look at sectoral shareholding thresholds, time-frames or any other issues that relate thereto,” Kasukuwere said. The committees will give recommendations to government within three months.

“It’s not a one-size-fits-all policy. We will be able to accommodate companies. The other area of concern was the term ‘cede’, which has been amended to ‘disposal’, which means disposal for value,” said Kasukuwere.

Mining industry officials have urged the government to consider each economic sector’s specific capital requirements when applying the empowerment law.

The Chamber of Mines has proposed a minimum 15% shareholding for locals, with empowerment credits being awarded for companies’ social and infrastructural investments.

“The mining industry must be ready to do much more than they are proposing," Kasukuwere told reporters.