Monday, March 10, 2008

Mugabe signs nationalization law

From AlJazeerah:
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, has approved a legislation that will grant Zimbabweans a majority stake in public-owned businesses, according to a state-run newspaper.

Mining and business industry officials have warned the law could quicken the decline of Zimbabwe's economy, which has shrunk by at least 30 per cent since 1999....

The government says the bill is part of its drive to empower the country's poor majority, but the MDC complains that it will enrich a few powerful individuals while winning votes in the March 29 elections.

The government has sought to allay business fears of a blanket seizure of companies by saying authorities would work with businesses to set timetables for foreign-owned firms to transfer shares to locals.

Loans will be provided to Zimbabweans intending to acquire shares, start businesses or expand existing ventures.

But analysts say the move could further harm an economy that has already suffered because of foreign investor flight and an inflation rate of more than 100,000 per cent.

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