Zimbabwe orders foreign firms to Sell Shares to Black by April 1

Harare, Zimbabwe, Capital Markets in Africa — Zimbabwe will shut down foreign-owned companies on April 1 if they don’t comply with a law that requires them to sell or cede 51 percent of their shares to black Zimbabweans, Indigenization Minister Patrick Zhuwao said.

The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act was passed in 2010 under President Robert Mugabe’s black empowerment drive but implementation has been slow.

 “Comply by that date or close shop, comply by that date or face the full wrath of the law,” Zhuwao told reporters Wednesday in the capital, Harare.

“Businesses have continued to disregard Zimbabwe’s indigenisation laws as if daring our President and his government to do something about their contemptuous behaviour,” Zhuwao told reporters.

Zhuwao said he did not have details of which companies had complied with the law and would not be banned.

The statement by  Zhuwao, seemed to end a debate within the cabinet over the scope of the empowerment law. While foreign mining companies had to cede a 51 percent stake to black Zimbabwe, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa suggested two years ago that the percentage might be changed for other industries.

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