Harare, Zimbabwe — MININGREVIEW.COM — 05 November 2010 – The government of Zimbabwe is to publish guidelines this month on local ownership of various types of companies, ending months of uncertainty that has weighed on the stock market and industries like mining.
The southern African nation introduced a law early this year stipulating that 51% of firms worth over US$500 000 (R3.4 million) should be owned by black Zimbabweans, but accepted that most sectors, especially the capital-intensive mining industry, would take time to get there.
“Fourteen committees set up to determine minimum initial local ownership thresholds for various sectors have now finished their work,” minister of youth development, indigenisation and empowerment Saviour Kasukuwere revealed here.
“We will review them and publish them before the end of the month,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of an investment conference in South Africa’s commercial capital. “We are moving. We need to bring about certainty. We can’t keep people hanging there,” he insisted.
This year, Zimbabwe’s stock market has failed to build on the strong gains it posted immediately after the government scrapped the worthless Zimbabwean dollar in favour of U.S. dollars in February 2009.
President Robert Mugabe told Reuters in an interview in September that he would press ahead with plans to transfer control of foreign companies “’ including mines and banks “’ to local blacks.
Kasukuwere sought to allay external fears, saying the bill was simply addressing the unresolved economic imbalances left by decades of white minority rule, and would ultimately create a stable and fair economy and society.
“We accept that foreign direct investment is critical in getting our economy to work. But it is necessary to balance foreign interests and the aspirations of our people,” he pointed out.