YOUTH EMPOWERMENT minister, Patrick Zhuwao, has failed to interpret and “understand” the indigenisation law causing confusion and capital flight in the process, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment has said.
The committee’s chairperson, Justice Wadyajena, on Friday told a pre-budget seminar in Bulawayo that the policy needed to be amended to clearly reflect President Robert Mugabe’s position.
Wadyajena said Zhuwao has “failed” to interpret and “understand” the legislation and has, as a result, “openly” contradicted finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa and Reserve Bank governor, John Mangudya, thereby causing confusion and capital flight.
“The Minister set unrealistic dates for compliance and went on to threaten the shutdown of companies that did not meet his deadline.
“Not only was this highly irresponsible, but it aided the scepticism of the investment community about the government’s seriousness on attracting meaningful investment,” said Wadyajena.
On the National Economic Empowerment Strategy (NEES), Wadyajena said it was a poorly designed strategy which was both overly ambitious and unrealistic.
“The creation of 2 million is not backed by a clear plan. The strategy does not go far enough in elucidating where these jobs will be created within the economy,” said Wadyajena.
On the Localised Empowerment Acceleration Facility (LEAF) Fund which is given major prominence within the strategy, Wadyajena said Zhuwao was lying when he said it failed to launch because of “unfulfilled commitment” by financial institutions.
“The truth around the LEAF fund is that banks lost confidence in the initiative due to perceived mismanagement of the fund, with monies not reaching the intended beneficiaries and the high default rate,” he said.
The committee recommended that the strategy needed revision so as to provide realistic and attainable goals.
“Zhuwao needs to anchor job creation around the country’s comparative advantage especially a high literate and skilled labour force relative to its peers,” said Wadyajena.
The committee also condemned corruption, saying the scourge needed to be eradicated including nepotism and looting perpetrated mostly by the politically connected individuals.