Cale­do­nia praises ED

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Oliver Kazunga Se­nior Busi­ness Re­porter

AIM-LISTED min­ing group, Cale­do­nia Min­ing Cor­po­ra­tion, has show­ered praises on the Govern­ment for tak­ing bold steps in im­ple­ment­ing in­vest­ment re­forms which will add im­pe­tus to at­tract­ing in­vestors and en­hanc­ing eco­nomic growth.

The min­ing group owns one of Zim­babwe’s lead­ing gold op­er­a­tions, Blan­ket Mine, which is based in Gwanda, Mata­bele­land South prov­ince. In a tele­vised in­ter­view posted on the group’s web­site, Cale­do­nia chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, Mr Mark Lear­moth, com­mended Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa and his ad­min­is­tra­tion for com­ing up with in­vest­ment poli­cies aimed at restor­ing eco­nomic growth in Zim­babwe.

“As peo­ple would know, Robert Mu­gabe was un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously thrown out of of­fice last Novem­ber, which I think came as a sur­prise to most peo­ple. And since then there have been elec­tions and Zanu-PF and Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa, the new Pres­i­dent have been re-elected.

“I got to say we were some­what dis­ap­pointed in some of the ac­tiv­i­ties that hap­pened af­ter the elec­tions (un­for­tu­nate Au­gust 1 fa­tal­i­ties in Harare af­ter the elec­tions).

“But I think peo­ple must un­der­stand and it’s very easy to miss this, if you’re sit­ting in Ger­many or the UK,” he said, adding that there has been a very sig­nif­i­cant change po­lit­i­cally in Zim­babwe.

“Peo­ple might just as­sume that Mnan­gagwa is from the same mould as Mu­gabe, I’ve met Mnan­gagwa per­son­ally sev­eral times since the elec­tions and Steve Cur­tis our chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer has also met him (Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa) sev­eral times.”

Be­fore the com­ing in of the new po­lit­i­cal ad­min­is­tra­tion un­der the Sec­ond Repub­lic led by Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa, Zim­babwe was fail­ing to at­tract mean­ing­ful for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment in­flows due to poli­cies such as the Indi­geni­sa­tion and Eco­nomic Em­pow­er­ment, which the Govern­ment has since re­viewed.

Through the Fi­nance Bill, the Govern­ment has amended the Indi­geni­sa­tion and Eco­nomic Em­pow­er­ment Act to re­strict the 51/49 per­cent thresh­old to di­a­monds and plat­inum sec­tors only.

This means the 51/49 thresh­old will no longer ap­ply to the rest of the ex­trac­tive sec­tor, nor will it ap­ply to other sec­tors of the econ­omy, which will be open to any in­vestor re­gard­less of na­tion­al­ity.

Since Novem­ber last year, Zim­babwe has at­tracted in­vest­ment pro­pos­als worth over $15 bil­lion and a fort­night ago, Cabi­net ap­proved 11 in­vest­ment pro­jects worth $5,3 bil­lion. The in­vest­ment deals, which are ex­pected to be im­ple­mented soon, cut across dif­fer­ent eco­nomic sec­tors. The deals in­clude the $130 mil­lion Cold Stor­age Com­pany joint ven­ture agree­ment with Boustead Beef, a United King­dom head­quar­tered firm.

Mr Lear­moth said the “Zim­babwe is open for busi­ness” mantra demon­strates that the Govern­ment is ab­so­lutely fo­cused on work­ing to­gether with in­vestors from all over the world in rekin­dling eco­nomic growth.

“I think they un­der­stand that Govern­ment by it­self can’t cre­ate jobs, they need min­ing com­pa­nies and agri­cul­ture and in­vest­ments, and they need growth. Ab­so­lutely clear in our mind is the Govern­ment is re­ally fo­cused on try­ing to sort of erad­i­cate the ob­sta­cles for peo­ple like us.

“But the most im­por­tant case in point is the bold step that he took im­me­di­ately af­ter he be­came the Pres­i­dent that we (Cale­do­nia) are tak­ing ad­van­tage of, is the rolling back of the lo­cal own­er­ship re­quire­ments.

“One of the big im­ped­i­ments to for­eign in­vest­ments in Zim­babwe was the re­quire­ment for all busi­nesses in Zim­babwe to be 51 per­cent owned by lo­cal peo­ple.

“We (Cale­do­nia) did that 51 per­cent lo­cal own­er­ship in 2012 but hav­ing got­ten rid of this lo­cal own­er­ship re­quire­ment com­pletely, we’re now in a po­si­tion where we are be­gin­ning to roll back our indi­geni­sa­tion process,” said Mr Lear­moth.

“There is very clear demon­stra­tion to the world that things have changed in Zim­babwe and peo­ple must not un­der-es­ti­mate that.”

Cale­do­nia has pro­posed to in­crease its share­hold­ing in Blan­ket from 49 per­cent to 64 per­cent through the ac­qui­si­tion of Fremiro’s 15 per­cent share­hold­ing in Blan­ket Mine. As a re­sult of the trans­ac­tion, Fremiro will hold 6,42 per­cent of Cale­do­nia’s di­luted eq­uity. In 2017, Blan­ket Mine pro­duced a record high of 56 135 ounces and this year the gold pro­ducer tar­gets out­put lev­els of be­tween 56 000oz and 59 000oz and by 2021 out­put is an­tic­i­pated to have reached 80 000oz. — @ okazunga

Deputy Min­is­ter of In­dus­try and Com­merce, Raj Modi, be­ing in­ter­viewed by In­dian jour­nal­ists in Navsari, In­dia, on Mon­day

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa

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