In 2007, the Movement for Democratic Change opposed the introduction of a Bill to allow for an economic programme termed “indigenisation”. The MDC viewed this draft legislation as being hostile to new investment and untenable in regard to existing investment. It was argued that it would become a cover for corruption and would enrich a small minority to the detriment of the majority. Despite our objections the Bill was adopted by the House of Assembly after the MDC Members had walked out.
The Party has not changed its position on the matter or its views on the nature and impact of the programme. It was therefore a shock, when the Minister responsible for the Act, Hon. Savior Kasukuwere promulgated new Regulations in 2011, enforcing the implementation of the Act. These Regulations were not approved by the Cabinet, even though the country was being governed by a Government of National Unity and were simply imposed.
Following the adoption of a new Constitution in March 2013, an added complication arose in that the Constitution now forbids discrimination of any sort against Citizens.
Despite this the new Minister responsible for the administration of the Act has been outspoken in recent months, calling for the full implementation of the Act and all associated subsidiary legislation and proposing the implementation of a levy on gross trading turnover on all firms to fund the compulsory acquisition of a majority of the shares in all designated firms. The principal target of these radical measures has been firms operating in Zimbabwe which are majority foreign owned.
The immediate effect of these statements and threats has been to halt all new investment by all targeted firms, whether locally or foreign owned. In addition firms have suspended essential maintenance and development activities to conserve resources and in some cases this has resulted in far reaching decisions that might even effect the continuation of company activities.
In present circumstances where the whole economy is in dire straits and the majority of companies are fighting for their survival, the impact of any new indigenisation activity or even threats, are simply counterproductive in every sense of the word. It is time that the Government faced reality and abandoned this futile exercise which is doing nothing to take the country forward.
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