Youth and Indigenization Minister Patrick Zhuwao says the government plans to hold an all-stakeholders conference in a fortnight to come up with a new indigenization strategy for Zimbabwe amid proposals by Harare to levy foreign-owned companies to fund its empowerment programs.
Zhuwao told a news conference this evening that more than 4,000 delegates will converge in the capital city in a fortnight to discuss a new indigenization strategy.
He said the country’s entire economy would be fully indigenized by 2108.
The minister said the government intends to introduce a 10 percent levy on foreign-owned companies to support the country's indigenization efforts, adding that the levy would increase on a yearly basis.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions says more than 4,000 companies have closed shop since the 2013 elections due to the worsening economic situation.
Some economists blame the country’s poor economic performance and lack of foreign direct investment on policies such as indigenization that they say are scaring away investors.
But Zhuwao said the government will not cooperate with companies that do not comply with the new 10 percent levy requirements and the entire black economic empowerment regulations.
Zhuwao's statement came as a surprise to many, especially since Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa has admitted both to Zimbabwe and international financiers that the country's indigenization policy needs to be changed as it is scaring away potential investors.
The International Monetary Fund has told Harare to reform a number of its laws and policies in order to attract foreign direct investment.
Efforts to get a comment from Chinamasa were fruitless.
Political commentator Nkululeko Sibanda says Zhuwao's plans may just worsen the country's situation, alienating Harare more from the international community and investors.