THE National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board has now taken over all negotiations pertaining to compliance with the indigenisation law particularly in the mining sector as Government moves to consolidate the programme.
In an interview on Wednesday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Africa, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, said there was no going back on compliance but stressed the NIEEB would sit down with all parties involved to come up with a win-win situation.
“The board will have technical teams and determine the true value of companies and what contributions the State has made. They will liase with banks, legal experts and others in determining negotiations.
“Contrary to some beliefs, I am not trying to grab anything. I am not forcing anybody … we are just sitting down to discuss business,” said Kasukuwere in apparent reference to reports that his ministry had taken a confrontational approach to pursue selfish means under the indigenisation drive.
“We want to determine the true value of a company and ascertain how much investments have been made and the value of minerals in the ground to determine ownership.
“You shall see that at the end of the day the Government might even own more than 51 percent in some instances going by what will be on the ground,” he said.
Such discussions were currently being pursued with Zimplats, Unki Mine and New Dawn, among others.
Figures were already on the table in terms of the true value of such operations viz-a-viz what the State should own.
“It is important to appreciate the fact that the Government of Zimbabwe and the people of Zimbabwe have value in their resources and it is that value which will form the basis of agreements.
“If value (of minerals in the ground) is higher than investments ,it means we have a higher value already.”
Government on one hand, and the companies on the other, would both bring value to the table, which would then determine ownership.
Under the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, the Government wants locals to own at least 51 percent shareholding in foreign owned companies with an annual turnover of US$500,000 per annum, though there is a provision to allow more shares to be owned by foreigners in some selected sectors.
Kasukuwere said Zimbabwe’s heritage was in her resources hence the need to redress ‘skewed’ ownership that had existed for too long.
He stressed the need for all ministries to play their part in the indigenisation process. This would also help unlock value in the various sectors of the economy as platforms for wider ownership of the economy.
“Zimbabwe must restore the true value of her assets. There is no other source of funding that we can expect from anybody that is outside our resources.”
NIEEB would warehouse shares, while a significant portion would be allocated to such groups as women, farmers, war veterans and other interest groups.
These would then secure funding for their respective business activities through offering shares as security to banks and other lenders.
This would in turn, help finance other business projects, thus generating more wealth.
“Every deal should be done transparently so that there is no doubt in terms of construction of the deal and the accruing of benefits so that those that want to line themselves will be ridiculed.
“We are taking no prisoners to ensure that there is transparency and order. We are not doing this (indigenisation) to impoverish our people but to see them succeed,” said Minister Kasukuwere