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Zimbabwe firm takeovers to start with mines: minister
April 20, 2010
policy of transferring majority control of foreign-owned firms to
black Zimbabweans will begin in the key mining sector, a minister
said on Tuesday.
Under the regulations,
which took effect on March 1, foreign-owned companies must submit
plans to show how they will sell 51 percent of their shares to black
Zimbabweans within five years.
"I am happy to
announce that government has unanimously decided that implementation
of our indigenisation policy starts with the mining sector,"
and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere told reporters after
a cabinet meeting in Harare.
The world's two largest
platinum miners, Anglo Platinum and Impala Platinum, have multi-million
dollar investments in Zimbabwe, while Rio Tinto has gold and diamond
Kasukuwere said government
had noted investor fears that foreign firms would be forced to give
up shares without payment.
"Some of the concerns
raised relate to the intepretation of the word 'cede' in relation
to shareholding, which was misconstrued to suggest compulsory takeover
without compensation," he said.
programme is based on fair transaction where full value is compensated
Kasukuwere said hundreds
of foreign firms in Zimbabwe had submitted plans to sell majority
stakes to local blacks, despite confusion over an affirmative action
law that has divided the unity government.
Kasukuwere, an ally of
President Robert Mugabe, last month ordered firms to report details
of ownership and plans to achieve majority local control.
government formed by Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
last year is divided over the regulations, which Tsvangirai has
said were issued without consulting the cabinet. A spokesman for
Tsvangirai said last week the regulations had been suspended, a
statement quickly denied by both Mugabe and Kasukuwere.
Kasukuwere told the state-controlled
Herald newspaper earlier on Tuesday that foreign firms were complying.
"We have so far
received more than 400 submissions from various companies and as
government we are happy with such an overwhelming response,"
he said the newspaper.
Units of British American
Tobacco Plc and Impala Platinum are among the companies that have
submitted plans, the newspaper said.
Firms that have
not yet submitted plans will get a 30-day extension from the April
15 deadline, Kasukuwere told the newspaper, adding the government
could terminate licences of companies that did not comply.
Mugabe's ZANU-PF government
passed an indigenisation and economic empowerment law in 2007, before
the formation of the unity government.
Analysts have said the
policy would discourage foreign investment and hurt efforts to fix
a crippled economy.
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