MUTARE – Indigenisation minister Savior Kasukuwere yesterday threatened to expel from Zimbabwe foreign-owned banks that fail to fund youth empowerment programmes.
He said institutions reluctant to finance youths’ projects “had no business to be in the country.”
“They must come on board and fund the youths,” Kasukuwere said at a handover of field equipment for the “Skills for Youth Employment and Rural Development” ceremony in Mutare.
“If you don’t want to fund our people you have no business to be in this country, get out go back to your country,” he threatened.
For the umpteenth time the minister has threatened to kick out foreign-owned banks over compliance with the empowerment policy.
Recently, Kasukuwere — who has already indigenised foreign-owned mines, including Anglo American’s Unki Mine and Impala Platinum Holdings’ Zimplats — said the banks should be compliant by July.
There are four foreign-owned banks operating in Zimbabwe namely Barclays, Stanbic Bank, Standard Chartered and MBCA.
The indigenisation policy compels all foreign-owned firms operating in Zimbabwe to cede 51 percent shareholding to black locals. “You can’t come to this country and misbehave and expect that you will be protected,” Kasukuwere said.
He said the biggest obstacle to achieving total empowerment of youths — making up approximately 60 percent of Zimbabwe’s 13 million population — was lack of funding.
“There are a myriad of challenges faced by the young people to get empowered. We are not saying the young people just want money. No, we are also equipping them with the skills and the training; we are opening opportunities for them and we will be rolling out the national youth policy next week.”
He said the national youth policy to be launched would ensure the youths get at least 25 percent of all the opportunities, particularly tenders.
“The world over, it is the indigenous people that build their economies and no one among us would be happy to keep a baby that is not theirs,” Kasukuwere added.
Kasukuwere said out of the programme skills for youth employment and rural development, at least 1 000 youths in the diamond-rich Manicaland Province would initially benefit.
“The diamonds in Manicaland must be seen to be benefiting the people of Manicaland,” said Kasukuwere.
He said the benefits of the diamonds in the province were only benefiting a few.
“Those who think that as individuals they must benefit at the expense of the people that is out, it is foreign. Everyone must benefit,” said Kasukuwere.
“That money must come. If it means we go beyond talking we will do that but those funds must come. When they come let’s see more irrigation schemes being developed, roads built and when they come let’s see a huge portion being set aside to support our young people as they are our future,” Kasukuwere said.
The “Skills for Youth Employment and Rural Development Programme” is supported by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Alphonse Tabi Abodo, the organisation’s country director said the donation of the field equipment, six motor bikes, computers, sewing machines and a truck would ensure the unemployed youths set up income generating projects. – Sydney Saize