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Only one foreign bank not indigenised, Nhema
15/10/2014 00:00:00
by Business Reporter
 
We are close to full compliance ... Francis Nhema
 
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ONLY one foreign owned bank is yet to comply with the country’s indigenisation law, a government minister said on Wednesday.

Foreign and white-owned companies with assets of more than US$500,000 are required to cede or sell a 51 percent stake to black nationals or the country’s National Economic Empowerment Board.

The programme has since been implemented in the mining industry and focus is now shifting to the financial services sector.

Addressing a press conference in Harare on Wednesday, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Francis Nhema said most of the foreign banks in the country had complied with the requirements.

“All foreign banks operating in Zimbabwe save for one whose plan is still under consideration have complied with the country’s indigenisation laws,” he said.

The foreign banks in Zimbabwe include Barclays, Standard Chartered, Stanbic, AfrAsia, Ecobank and MBCA.

Along with the foreign owned financial institutions, there are some 21 banks operating in Zimbabwe.

“Most banks have complied and I am happy. The onus is now with us to complete processing the plans,” he said.

“We are not saying they are in defiance or resisting (the one bank left); we are just fine tuning the proposal to a point we all agree.”

The minister said government had put in place a provision for timelines in situations where local banks secure a foreign investor.

“We have done this with a certain bank which is due to receive funding and we have given leeway for the deal to go ahead but in the interests of the law they will have to comply,” said Nhema.

Early this year Nhema said foreign banks operating in Zimbabwe were not obliged to transfer 51 percent shareholding to locals under the country’s indigenisation law.

Instead, the banks involvement in the empowerment exercise would be per his discretion as the responsible minister.

He said financial institutions would enter into negotiations with his ministry.


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