Expressing concerns about the economic impact of Zimbabwe's indigenization program, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Friday he will convene inter-ministerial talks on the controversial initiative which he says is discouraging foreign investment.
Mr. Tsvangirai told business and labor leaders at an economic stakeholders meeting on the 2012 budget that the lack of a clear, consensus policy on indigenization is causing anxiety among international investors whose capital Zimbabwe desperately needs.
His call for talks on indigenization among ministers with economic portfolios potentially sets up a clash with Indigenization Minister Savious Kasukuwere who has announced the distribution this month of a 10 percent stake in platinum miner Zimplats though there is no formal agreement in place between the government and its South African parent.
Kasukewere characterized as "cowards" critics of his moves to oblige foreign companies to put a 51 percent stake in their Zimbabwean operations in black hands, declaring that there have been no challenges so far in the Cabinet or in Parliament.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti, meanwhile, has started gathering views from a broad spectrum of stakeholders on the 2012 budget to be presented in November.
The finance minister told journalists in a briefing this week that friction in the national unity government is hampering the fragile economic recovery.
He said ministries must live within their means due to limited financial resources. The finance minister added that the 2012 budget will prioritize education
Preaching austerity, Biti said there is no money for new vehicles for 290 lawmakers now demanding them, even in the proposed form of a vehicle loan of up to US$30,000.
Economic commentator Masimba Kuchera said Biti’s belt-tightening message is welcome as most Zimbabweans oppose the purchase of new vehicles for parliamentarians.