Mugabe tones down indigenisation rhetoric

During his Independence Day speech, President Robert Mugabe signalled his government’s softening stance on indigenisation – saying it would be flexible when dealing with foreign investors.

“If an outside investor brings to the country his resources to establish a company, we will not stick to the 51-49 shareholding, but would negotiate,” said Mugabe, adding that the same would apply to professionals such as doctors and lawyers who bring skills to the country.

He admitted that sectors such as manufacturing were severely strained and government had no money to prop them up. “If we do not add value to our natural resources, where do we get money to increase salaries?” he said.

Natural resources such as iron and asbestos had to be processed locally to add their value before exportation, added Mugabe. He also called on all citizens to play their part towards turning around the economy.

Speaking in an unusually subdued voice punctuated with regular rubbing of eyes to gain better sight, the aged president called on Zimbabweans to give their best to whatever they did for a living.

He urged educational institutions to produce more professionals such as engineers and entrepreneurs to seek capital loans from financial institutions but honour their debts.

He expressed disappointment at the increasing number of bad debtors who crippled loan facilities.

But economist John Robertson said Mugabe’s apparent change in tone might not be enough to lure much-needed outside investment. He said investors would want a practical demonstration of what he meant after sitting down with the responsible authorities.

Post published in: News
  1. Tim Murphy

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