Mugabe's party approves empowerment rules

22:19, February 25, 2010      

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The supreme decision-making body of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, the politburo, has approved indigenization and economic empowerment rules that give indigenous Zimbabweans the right to own majority shareholding in foreign owned companies.

The body endorsed the regulations, which were gazetted on Jan. 21 following an explanation by the party's secretary for indigenization and economic empowerment, Saviour Kasukuwere, on Wednesday.

Kasukuwere is also the minister of indigenization and economic empowerment in the inclusive government formed by Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara last February.

"It would appear everyone is very happy. There was clarity on the regulations," the party's secretary for information Rugare Gumbo told the Herald.

Gumbo defended the empowerment regulations, saying many countries in the SADC region had also embarked on empowerment drives.

The main objective of the regulations is to have 51 percent indigenous shareholding in existing businesses with the owners given a five-year period to comply.

The regulations require that all existing businesses with a threshold of 500,000 U. S. dollars should within 45 days from March 1, 2010 declare their shareholding status to the indigenization and economic empowerment minister through a prescribed form.

New businesses will be required to comply within 60 days.

Businesses that do not meet the 51 percent indigenization requirement will be expected to submit a plan on how they intend to meet the requirements within 45 days from March 1.

Those with acceptable reasons will be afforded an extension not exceeding 30 days to furnish the authorities with their indigenization implementation plans.

The regulations have ignited serious divisions between Mugabe's party and Tsvangirai's MDC party which feels the rules will scare away potential investors.

Tsvangirai's party is on record calling for a policy that balances between black empowerment and investment attraction.

However, Mugabe has rejected sentiments that the empowerment rules would frighten off investors.

Source: Xinhua
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