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Unknown firms, unknown fate

ZIMBABWE has not yet decided the fate of six firms it threatened to seize over accusations they supported an opposition-led work boycott last week, a government minister said yesterday.

Trade and Industry minister Samuel Mumbengegwi said this week that the unnamed firms would have their licences revoked and expatriate work permits cancelled.

But Mumbengegwi yesterday said in South Africa that no decision on the companies or their workers had been taken.

“When I made a statement in Harare… I indicated… that we were carrying out further investigations into these companies,” he said on the sidelines of an economic summit in South Africa. “Depending on our findings, we will take appropriate action.”

He declined to name the businesses concerned or whether they were local or foreign-owned.

“We don’t know whether they are international or local companies. It’s very difficult to know if a company is local or international just by looking at its name.”

Mumbengegwi is in Durban for the Africa Economic Summit – an invitation-only gathering of business and political leaders, where Zimbabwe is firmly off the agenda.

Once the bread basket of Africa, Zimbabwe’s economy is in tatters and political tensions are mounting.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa said in Durban yesterday goverment was reviewing key data to determine whether it would need a supplementary budget this year.

Murerwa said although the government’s reform programme was going well, inflation – already close to 300% – could go higher before prices levelled out. “As you know, when you decontrol, the tendency of prices is to go up but… if you have the right policy to control inflation, prices will stabilise.” – Reuter.

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