Indigenisation minister implores ‘western companies’ to comply

Zimbabwe’s wealth must be shared equitably to create new jobs and improve the people’s quality of life, says the new Indigenisation Minister Francis Nhema.

Indigenisation Minister Francis Nhema: no special preference for Chinese
Indigenisation Minister Francis Nhema: no special preference for Chinese

In an interview with The Zimbabwean, Nhema dismissed as baseless the perception that the indigenisation policy targeted Western companies, leaving Chinese business untouched.

“You have to be fair and say that for a long time the investors that have been coming in have been from the West,” he said. “This means that these are the people that we have been dealing with for the last 100 years. So for you to say that we are targeting Western companies, yet we only have a few Chinese companies in Zimbabwe, is not fair,” he said.

He said because most of the business ventures that the Chinese engaged in were in partnership with government, it was wrong to view the Chinese as if they were getting a special preference.

“I want to believe that the Chinese have only moved in recently, and so to speak of targeting would be a misnomer. The question should be how many companies do they have in this country?” said the minister.

He urged “western companies” to engage government if they had any concerns or faced challenges in complying with the indigenisation law. “What we are saying is: come and engage us and we will discuss the best way forward and how best we can ensure that citizens also get a stake in the administration of their resources,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s economic fortunes are plagued by a myriad of challenges, key among them being critical electricity shortages.

Deputy Finance minister Samuel Undenge told a meeting of business executives last week that government was in the process of crafting “flexible terms with regard to compliance on indigenisation laws on capital projects like energy”.

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