Zimbabwe’s cabinet has ordered all foreign-owned mining companies to repatriate their export earnings banked in offshore accounts saying the country is losing billions of dollars in potential revenue.
Mines Minister Obert Mpofu told the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper that miners who do not comply with the order will be punished by the government, which currently is implementing a controversial black economic empowerment program.
Mpofu said the mining firms should start depositing their export earnings with local banks instead of offshore accounts.
Executives of mining firms declined to comment fearing victimization by the government which recently ordered top banks in the country to repatriate more than US$250 million dollars in offshore accounts to address the nation’s liquidity crisis.
Most of the banks have not yet complied with the cabinet proclamation.
John Mufukare, director of the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe, said the mining firms have to comply with the order or face tough government action.
Independent economic commentator Rejoice Ngwenya said the cabinet order violates Zimbabwe’s company laws.