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Main Zimbabwe Union Says Indigenization Will Damage Economy, Cost Jobs

  • Gibbs Dube

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions Secretary General Wellington Chibebe said foreign firms could relocate to other countries if indigenization regulations recently gazetted take effect in March as planned

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions says moves to implement the Indigenization Act will hurt the country's economy and cost thousands of jobs.

Union Secretary General Wellington Chibebe said foreign firms could relocate to other countries if rules recently gazetted go into force in March.

Chibebe told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that forcing foreign-owned companies to cede a controlling stake in their enterprises to Zimbabweans will only enrich the elite aligned with President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and his supporters who plundered the agricultural sector starting in 2000.

“The government through the so-called political heavyweights aligned to ZANU-PF wants to take over industries and we are concerned about such moves which are similar to the land invasions which have crippled the agricultural sector,” he said.

Chibebe noted that most of the people who want a stake in foreign-owned companies grabbed commercial farms formerly owned by whites.

The controversial Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act, criticized by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as a barrier to foreign direct investment, seems likely to come into force next month after President Mugabe endorsed it on Wednesday while addressing an investment summit in Harare.

Under the regulations gazetted this month, foreign-owned companies will be obliged be 51 percent owned by Zimbabweans within five years.

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