Chanakira ordered to handle Dangote investment project
GOVERNMENT has ordered Zimbabwe Investment Authority board chairperson Dr Nigel Chanakira to personally handle Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote’s $1,2 billion investment project and pursue all the outstanding regulatory requirements to enable his plans to take off.
This was revealed by Dr Chanakira yesterday while giving oral evidence before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment chaired by GokweNembudziya legislator Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena on the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe.
The directive by the Government comes in the wake of false media reports recently that officials from the Dangote Group had been denied visas to Harare.
Dr Chanakira said he met Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Planning Minister Dr Obert Mpofu where it was agreed that he takes full charge of Dangote investment plans in Zimbabwe to ensure they materialise.
“Tomorrow I am meeting Dangote point person in Zimbabwe Josey Mahachi so that we can make a follow up to say is there anything else we can do as Government. When we met with our Minister to brief him, we agreed that I singlehandedly take charge of Dangote file,” said Dr Chanakira.
He said some outstanding regulatory approval had delayed the commencement of the Dangote deal.
“Yesterday we made a review of the Dangote project. There are issues to do with Environmental Management Agency and mining rights and permit. We also had bad public relations that was done courtesy of the Financial Gazette saying Dangote staff had been denied visas which was not true,” he said.
Mr Dangote, ranked among the wealthiest persons in Africa, had expressed interest in power generation, cement production and coal mining when he met President Mugabe in September last year.
Commenting on the indigenisation law, Dr Chanakira said there was a need to consider empowerment credits and quotas to be conferred on companies that would have made infrastructural investments like road construction, sewage reticulation like Zimplats and Mimosa, which was ordinarily a role of local authorities.
He said investors in the mining sector were encouraged by the pending introduction of bond notes particularly the entitlement of a five percent incentive which he said they could convert it into hard currency.
“But I have also received a lot of calls on people expressing reservations on the bond notes. I have noted that they were not popular,” he said.
He said there was a need to give legal effect to capture the clarification made by President Mugabe on the three categories of the economy namely, the resources, non resources and reserved sector where it was said the Government gave great weight to resource sector.
Some of the clarification made by President Mugabe was when there appeared to be a stand-off between Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Dr John Mangudya on one hand and Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Patrick Zhuwao.
“President talked of grey areas in the law. Investors are saying yes your President has said that, but where is the law. So there is need to align the law,” said Dr Chanakira.
He said reports of diamond take over in Chiadzwa had also shaken some foreign investors.
“Capital is shy and when you fickle with it, it tends to frighten investors. We will continue to raise awareness campaigns,” said Dr Chanakira.