Indigenisation: Govt grapples for balance

GOVERNMENT faces a tough decision in striking a balance between the indigenisation on the one hand and attracting the much-needed foreign investment on the other, indications from senior government officials show.

Taurai Mangudhla

At a Steward Bank-organised business breakfast meeting on Wednesday, Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha said there was need for government to repackage the indigenisation policy in a way that does not retard foreign investment inflow.

“From the Industry ministry we are saying we would want to solicit for investment, we would like to promote industrialisation and at the same time we have to engage other ministries, the ministry responsible for indigenisation, and say how best do we want this message to be?” he said.

Bimha said the Indigenisation Act is a law that is not only in Zimbabwe but the world over, though packaged differently.

“Our challenge is not whether it (indigenisation) is good or bad. The issue is how best do we package it, how best do we interact with potential investors and still give them confidence such that they can say ‘Yes we can come and invest in Zimbabwe and yes we are ready to indigenise?’,” Bimha said.

“It’s not just for me and the ministry responsible for indigenisation. We have already discussed this and we have very interesting ideas.”

Bimha said part of the recommendations on the economy would be contained in a government agenda for the next five years which was currently being worked on by various ministries.

Newly-appointed Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa told a Zimbabwe Mining and Infrastructure Indaba held in the capital this week the country faced a grave challenge to reconcile the recognition that Zimbabweans had a sovereign right over their minerals and should benefit from their exploitation with the need to attract foreign capital, technical and technological resources.

“The challenge that we must address, therefore, is to reconcile these two imperatives and come up with policies that cater for both the ordinary Zimbabwean and the investor,” Chidhakwa said.