THE history of empowerment in Zimbabwe is littered with examples of failure. Where they have sailed through, the empowerment deals have created elites who became super-rich at the expense of the majority. These skewed policies have served
to confuse investors.
For example there is confusion in the mining sector as to how much should be allocated to indigenous groups in mining ventures. While President Robert Mugabe insists that local business people must be given 50% in mining ventures, the Finance minister, Herbert Murerwa, is on record saying that 30% should be set aside for locals.
However, the National Investment Centre (NIC) has a 40% figure on its website and pamphlets marketing Zimbabwe as an investment destination. Since the government proposal, last year, that locals should hold at least a 15% empowerment stake in all mining concerns, no indigenous consortium has successfully acquired any stake.
Zimplats has offered a 15% empowerment stake to Nkululeko Rusununguko Mining Company (NRMC), a local consortium which has however failed to pay for the shareholding. Anglo American Corporation Zimbabwe (AmZim) is also offering a 15-20% empowerment stake in its billion-dollar Unki Platinum Project but the company has not come up with an empowerment partner for more than a year now.
The land reform, which government cites as the hallmark of its economic empowerment, has become a national disaster. Production has slumped to the lowest levels. Before that United Merchant Bank headed by the late empowerment guru Roger Boka collapsed due to serious financial improprieties.
Locally-owned banks like Trust, Royal and Barbican have since been taken over by government. Government is currently finalising the take-over of Shabani Mashava Mine (SMM) which is owned by Mutumwa Mawere. – Staff Writer.