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Youth minister orders naming of fund beneficials

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NEW Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister Christopher Mushowe has ordered top officials in his ministry to reveal the full list of around 1 000 people, who have benefited from the country’s indigenisation programme since 2010.

PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
SENIOR REPORTER

Mushowe’s remarks were made during a familiarisation meeting with ministry officials, Zimbabwe Youth Council, junior parliamentarians, junior councillors and youth groups.

“I have asked for a list of all the indigenisation beneficiaries from my ministry officials, I think the country has the right to know who has been empowered,” he said.

“If we are saying it’s broad-based economic empowerment then we should see the number of people who have benefited, otherwise we might be empowering the same person or a small clique of people.”

Youths in Matabeleland have in the past complained they had not benefited from youth and indigenisation funds, with successive ministers promising to look into the matter. All foreign-owned companies under the Indigenisation Act should sell 51% of their shareholding to locals.

Some of the companies have in the process donated 10% community share ownership trusts and 10% to employee ownership trusts. The indigenisation policy has reportedly scared off new investors derailing efforts to revive the battered economy.

The Indigenisation minister, however, insisted the indigenisation policy would continue and ownership thresholds might even be increased from 51% to a higher percentage.

“It should be noted that the 49% foreign ownership is the ceiling, while the 51% for locals is the minimum,” he said. “We can choose whatever percentages we want and as a sovereign State we welcome foreign direct investment, but certainly on our terms. If we decide a foreigner should have 20% and we take 80% that would be our decision.”

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