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Companies Not Complying With Black Empowerment Law Get Temporary Reprieve

Indigenization Minister Patrick Zhuwao

Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Minister Patrick Zhuwao says companies that have failed to comply with a government directive to submit indigenization plans will be given another chance before their licenses are revoked.

The deadline to submit the plans was on Thursday. The country wants foreign-owned firms to transfer majority stakes to local people under a controversial indigenization program mooted by President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party in 2008.

Zhuwao though said many companies had submitted plans to the National Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB).

The minister told VOA Studio 7 he is satisfied with the response.

“One thing that has emerged is that there has been a huge, huge response by people who are seeking to ensure that they are complying with the law. I visited the National Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Board earlier on and over the past couple of weeks they have really been working flat out and in some instances getting to the office as early as 6 o’clock and in some instances getting out of the offices as late as 10 o’clock (evening).”

He said those that have not submitted the plans would be allowed to show cause why they are not able to follow the law.

Zhuwao noted that line ministries are expected to take care of such cases and then if they fail to do so then the government will be forced to take drastic action.

“… Should they fail to comply the minister would then notify third parties (stock exchanges) that intention of cancelling their licenses and proceed on to direct the licensing authority to cancel their licenses. It’s purely a technical process which is defined at law.”

Zimbabwe’s feared indigenization law is believed to be discouraging local and foreign investors from opening up or boosting their businesses in the country.