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Chinamasa backtracking!

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa today said foreigners can remain with, or acquire, majority shareholding in banks but said the 51 percent local ownership in mining will continue to be enforced. President Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front won a landslide victory last year on the back of black empowerment and could now be backtracking that the vote is in the bag. “I am quite comfortable with foreign ownership in the banks because at this time our people have no capacity to buy equity. But it is temporary and we are not looking for a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach,” he said without stating how temporary is temporary. “We have been very clear on the mining sector that this is our resource and our people have to benefit by being major shareholders,” he said. Chinamasa’s statement is in line with what Mugabe said on Independence Day. “Now in implementing the indigenisation programme, there has been some confusion. We have said where big companies have been established mainly on the basis of our natural resources, in mining, in agriculture, manufacturing, we demand that Zimbabweans — either through the Government or through our people — should have 51 percent or not less than 51 percent. But if a company is established and is getting raw materials from outside and the raw materials are not Zimbabwean, take the case of aluminium, we don’t have raw materials for it; if the raw materials come from Tanzania, which has it and if a company establishes itself here in Willowvale, we cannot demand 51 percent. You can negotiate with the company in the usual way what percentage we should have and it’s up to the company and yourselves establishing the percentages respectively you should share. But we cannot demand 51 percent where we don’t have materials. These materials are coming from outside and the machines are also coming from outside and we have no basis on which we can demand 51 percent except to say the locality of the company is ours,” Mugabe said.

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