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Zim Willing to Engage Foreign Firms on Empowerment Law

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa says the government is willing to negotiate its empowerment laws with foreign companies, back-tracking on threats by President Robert Mugabe that there is no turning back on his policy to force foreign firms to surrender 51 percent stakes to blacks in the country.

Chinamasa made the remarks Thursday in a re-engagement meeting with European Union ambassadors in Zimbabwe. The finance minister also wanted to sell the new government’s economic blue print - the Zimbabwe Agenda for Socio-Economic Transformation (ZIMPEST) to the diplomats.

Government sources said the government has been alarmed by the worsening economic crisis as companies continue to close shop following the July 31 elections. The country is also struggling to attract foreign investment.

Indigenization Minister Francis Nhema told VOA Studio 7 that he has started engaging individual companies in a process that might take months to yield results.

European Union ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell Arricia said the meeting was a walk in the right direction.

Former Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Callisto Jokonya said engagement is crucial for both parties.