Money printing Zimbabwe eyes remaining foreign assets

HARARE, Sept 17, 2007 (AFP) – Planned legislation that would place the majority share of all listed firms in the hands of indigenous blacks will lead to a fall in foreign investment and worsen Zimbabwe’s economic woes, business leaders warned Monday.

Members of a parliamentary committee that is currently debating the controversial Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment bill were told that the proposed law was both ill-timed and outdated.

Cain Mpofu, chief executive of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, said the correction of the historical imbalances should have been tackled by veteran President Robert Mugabe’s government when the former British colony gained independence in 1980.

“It, however, must be appreciated that 27 years down the road there has been an evolution and there is now significant change in ownership of business in Zimbabwe,” Mpofu told the MPs.

“The timing, therefore, does not appear appropriate for the following reasons: the economy is in a tail spin, international perception about proprietary rights protection in Zimbabwe is at its lowest and inflation is the highest in the world.”

“There is a likelihood of a 30 percent drop in foreign direct investment following passage of the proposed act.