ZDC revived to seize private businesses

HARARE - Zimbabwe's government on Monday appointed a new board to resuscitate a state company that it has said will be used to seize control of private businesses engaging in "economic sabotage" in a bid to topple President Robert Mugabe.

Caption: Empty shelves – manufacturers accused of western-backed “dirty tricks”

├é┬áIndustry Minister Obert Mpofu, who announced the new board of the Zimbabwe Development Company (ZDC), immediately tasked the board to select “a few entities, which will need to be (taken over and) resuscitated on a sustainable basis.”
Mugabe’s government accuses private firms of hiking prices, cutting output or closing down factories altogether as part of a Western-backed campaign of “dirty tricks’ meant to worsen economic hardships in Zimbabwe and cause the Harare administration to fall.
Business leaders deny the charges arguing that any slow down in production or company closure is because of the myriad problems facing industry among them shortage of foreign currency to import raw materials and machine parts, the power and fuel crises and government price controls.
Mpofu also urged the ZDC board to pursue joint ventures with local or foreign private investors as it looks for ways to help turn around Zimbabwe’ s economy.
“The economy is facing many problems . . . it is my belief that you will go a long way in trying to address the challenges haunting our economy as you discharge your duties,” Mpofu said.
Businessman and ruling Zanu (PF) party loyalist, Jonathan Kadzura, heads the new ZDC board. Chief executive officer of the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe, Zvinechimwe Churu and Zimbabwe Steel Company spokesperson Augustine Timbe are also part of the six-member board.
he ZDC was established by an Act of Parliament in 1988 to identify business opportunities and spearhead government investments in the economy with a view to foster a balanced growth of the economy.
The government last year said the ZDC would be used together with the Zimbabwe State Trading Corporation (ZSTC) as vehicles for acquiring companies that the government might want to take over for engaging in “economic sabotage.”
This was at the height of a government crackdown against businesses defying orders to reduce prices by 50 percent, in a controversial attempt by the Harare authorities to clamp down on galloping inflation.
The experiment ended disastrously as shops ran out of nearly every commodity partly because consumers took advantage of lower prices to snatch everything off shop shelves with manufacturers also refusing to produce goods at a loss. – ZimOnline

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