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Mugabe Pledges to Intensify Zimbabwe’s Indigenization Policy

Sept. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe will intensify its drive to force foreign and white-owned companies to cede 51 percent of their shares in local units to blacks, President Robert Mugabe said at the opening of parliament.

Mugabe, 89, who won re-election to a five-year term in July, said today in the capital, Harare, that the goal of the indigenization policy is “to ensure that our people become significant stakeholders and not mere bystanders in the running of national economy.”

Mugabe’s administration has forced mining companies such as Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. and Anglo American Platinum Ltd. to cede majority stakes in their local assets to black Zimbabweans or the government. The southern African nation has the world’s second-biggest platinum and chrome reserves, as well as diamond, gold and coal deposits.

In the speech to parliament, where his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front holds a two-thirds majority, Mugabe also called on “arrogant western nations” to remove sanctions against him and ZANU-PF members. The nation is “ready to work with even those who before were at odds with us.”

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change boycotted the opening of the legislature, saying that the elections were rigged. Mugabe won 61 percent of the ballots cast in his race against MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mugabe also pledged to review salaries for state employees, saying the government understood their “difficult working conditions and low remuneration.”

Heads of state-owned companies will be required to sign performance-related contracts, he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Brian Latham in Harare at blatham@bloomberg.net; Godfrey Marawanyika in Harare at gmarawanyika@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net

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