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Top State Aide: Zimbabwe Won't Amend Controversial Empowerment Law

The Ministry of Indigenization has dismissed as senseless proposals by Finance Minister Tendai Biti for the unity government to amend the controversial economic empowerment law so that foreign investors won’t be compelled to transfer a 51 percent stake to local people.

The ministry’s legal adviser Psychology Maziwisa told VOA Studio 7 Friday Biti’s proposals are designed to appease foreigners at the expense of the poor black majority.

Maziwisa said his ministry will not engage other state departments and parliament on proposals to amend some provisions of the law – widely blamed for blocking foreign direct investment.

Biti was not immediately available for comment.

He told parliament Wednesday that foreign investors intending to open businesses in Zimbabwe will no longer be compelled to transfer majority stakes to locals as the government is set to amend the law.

Maziwisa said empowerment of indigenous people will be derailed if the law is amended. “As far as we are concerned, Biti should concentrate on giving loans to distressed companies and not start raising foreigners’ hopes on amending some provisions of the black empowerment law,” he said.