Sunday, 15 March 2020

CHIEF ATTACKS ED OVER SHARE TRUSTS

A prominent Gwanda traditional leader has accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of neglecting the community share ownership schemes introduced by his predecessor Robert Mugabe.


Mugabe introduced the community share ownership schemes in 2013 to support his indigenisation programme that forced foreign-owned companies to cede 51% of their shares to locals.

Under the scheme, at least 50 Community Share Ownership Trusts (CSOTs), each worth $10 million, were established by the government together with foreign-owned mining companies.

But Chief Mathema who is the CSOT deputy national chairperson, said Mugabe was way better in his administration of the trusts than Mnangagwa.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a CSOT conference held in Harare last week, which was snubbed by Industry and Commerce minister Sekai Nzenza.

Nzenza was supposed to give the key note address, but chose to attend a field day at Mnangagwa’s Precab Farm in Kwekwe on the same day.

“The government is no longer committed to CSOTs,” Mathema said.

“They are no longer pronounced as they were in the previous regime of the late Robert Mugabe.

“In the new dispensation, it appears government is no longer committed to them.

“Companies are now saying they have nothing to give to CSOTs because there’s no legislation compelling them to do so.

“The repeal of the Indigenisation Act put in place by Mugabe’s regime has sent CSOTs into extinction.

“We have decided to form an association to share ideas on how we can survive now that we no longer have the government support and that of companies which are looting our resources.”

The government registered 61 CSOTs countrywide, of which 16 are still in existence, while less than 10 got seed money from qualifying companies that they were investing in self-help projects.
  
When Mnangagwa came into power, he “repealed” the Economic Empowerment and Indigenisation Act and also enacted the Finance Act 2018, which technically rendered the CSOTs dysfunctional as companies were no longer compelled to give anything to the trusts.

But a director in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Michael Fungati, said the CSOTs would not die as his ministry had a brief to come up with special purpose vehicles to fund communities.

“Right now, I am from Mutare where we were discussing issues to deal with the new Economic and Empowerment Act (EEA),” Muguti said.

“We want them to put forward their concerns and what they want to be done for CSOTs.

“We have a 100-day period to deal with this matter and come up with principles which would be handed over to cabinet for a Bill to be formulated.

“CSOTs will not die as long as they participate and put their ideas forward.” Standard

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