Indigenisation law crackdown

Government is to crackdown on companies that did not comply with the country’s empowerment laws before Monday’s deadline.

Saviour Kasukuwere
Saviour Kasukuwere

The National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB) on Tuesday announced that it will embark on an assessment rating of companies to determine the extent of compliance with the law.

Foreign companies were supposed to submit their implementation plans on how they are to cede a stake to locals by Monday this week.

Addressing journalists in Harare, NIEEB Chief Executive Officer Wilson Gwatiringa said many non-indigenisation companies have not complied with the indigenisation law as they are reluctant to submit their plans for approval.

“….the board will be undertaking a wide scale compliance audit across all sectors of the economy. This will involve an indigenisation assessment rating of companies as required by Section 3 of the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act (Chapter 14:33) to determine the extent to which companies have complied with the law,” Gwatiringa said.

Investigations will be done in conjunction with an Indigenisation and Empowerment and the Zimbabwe Republic Police to investigate, audit and where necessary recommend appropriate measures to enforce compliance with legislation, Gwatiringa said.

Consequences of non compliance include cancellation or suspension of operating licences as well as payment of hefty fines.

About 700 foreign owned companies from 14 sectors of the economy were expected to have complied by Monday’s deadline, but submissions fall short of government’s expectations.

“Our concentration has been highly on the mining sector in the last months, but a few companies from other sectors submitted plans that were analysed and approved,” Gwatiringa said.

The widely criticised empowerment law which requires foreign owned companies to give a 51 percent shareholding to locals is feared to scare investors in an economy which is still recovering from years of economic decline.

Politicians have been sending conflicting signals to investors who are no longer sure of the security of their investments in Zimbabwe.

A fortnight ago, mines minister Obert Mpofu said no-one would loose operating licenses but ironically youth and indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere had issued threats to withdraw operating licence for Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Zimplats) for failing to comply with the law.

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