News24

Zim's company grab law to stay

2010-04-14 22:13

Harare - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday rejected claims by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's office that the government had reversed a law forcing foreign firms to cede a majority stake to locals.

Mugabe said that the remarks that the indigenisation and empowerment regulations had been scrapped were not true but cabinet was working on improving the rules.

"They (the remarks) are completely false," Mugabe told reporters after touring tobacco auction floors.

"There is no nullification of the indigenisation and economic empowerment law, no nullification of the regulations which have been made," he said.

"What there is, is that the regulations are being studied by a committee of cabinet just to improve them."

The law, which came into force on March 1, would have affected foreign-owned firms valued at $500 000 or more.

They had been given 45 days to report their efforts at complying.

Indigenisation Minister going ahead

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's office said on Tuesday the government had declared the indigenisation law "null and void".

The biggest targets included local subsidiaries of British banks Barclays and Standard Chartered, as well as mining companies such as Impala Platinum, Anglo Platinum and Rio Tinto.

Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere confirmed that the law would not be scraped.

"We are still going ahead with the law," he told AFP.

"Yes, cabinet said we still need to give business more time, but we are going ahead with the law," said Kasukuwere.

Mugabe had defended the regulations as a measure to correct the economic imbalances created by Zimbabwe's colonial past.