Zhuwao meets Cabs over youth fund

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Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao has met Central African Bank Society (Cabs) officials to discuss ways to recover money from beneficiaries of the Youth Fund, which is administered by the society, businessdigest has established.

Kudzai Kuwaza

The youth fund, which targets youths between 18 and 35 years, was suspended last year after it underperformed with a loan default rate of 78%.

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“We have had detailed conversations with Cabs and they are working on strategies of ensuring that those who have not paid will be able to pay and we are also working on our own strategies as a ministry,” Zhuwao told businessdigest in an interview last week.

“We will get together with Cabs and sychronise the strategies that we have. In a couple of weeks I shall be able to tell you the strategy but in my mind I am clear what that strategy is and by 2016 a significant portion of the money will be repaid.”

Zhuwao said the National Indigenisation Economic and Empowerment Board (Nieeb) was working on ways to halt the continued takeover of sectors reserved for indigenous Zimbabweans by foreigners.

The reserved sectors, according to the legislation, are agriculture (primary production of food and cash crops), transportation, retail and wholesale trade.

The category also includes barbershops, hairdressing, beauty salons, employment, estate agencies, grain milling, as well as bakeries.

Tobacco grading, processing and packaging, advertising agencies, milk processing, provision of local arts and crafts, as well as marketing and distribution fall in the group.

The transport and retail sectors in particular have been flooded by foreigners, squeezing out indigenous businesses who have complained that they are not being empowered as espoused in the Indigenisation Act. “Niebb is currently working on putting together proposals on how to deal with that (the invasion of foreigners in reserved sectors),” Zhuwao said. “At the moment, they haven’t yet finalised them. But I should be in a position to respond pretty soon.”

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