Indian giant car maker Tata International Limited sent officials into the country to seek clarity on Zimbabwe’s controversial indigenisation policy.
On Tuesday President Robert Mugabe admitted that his regime’s controversial empowerment legislation was confusing potential investors and makes it hard to compete for foreign investment.
Samykannu Rajendran, representing the Indian embassy in Zimbabwe, said the Tata officials wanted clarity on the indigenisation policy.
“They wanted clarification on the Indigenisation Act, so I advised them visit Zimbabwe, meet the authorities and they are now happy,” he said.
Speaking to journalists in Harare on Thursday after meeting Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa at his Munhumutapa Offices, Tata chief finance officer Behram Sabawala said his company was looking for long term deals not “quick buck”.
He said Tata was confident the problems the country was facing were temporary.
“We would be very pleased if the economic environment facilitated more growth and development and we are confident that the future will provide us with that opportunity. We have experienced the rest of Africa in a similar situation but we are here for the long term. We are not here for a quick buck so we are patient,” said Sabawala.
“We have been in Zimbabwe for almost 10 years now and we are here to solidify our commitment with the Zimbabwean government and the people of Zimbabwe that we are here to stay, to develop and grow,” he said.
Distributors of Tata vehicles in the country Blackwood Hodge Zimbabwe general manager Elliot Shoniwa said Tata had huge plans.
“Currently we are operating in the automotive business as a distributor but our plans are going beyond the automotive business. We want to introduce chemicals. We want to introduce the healthcare division. We want to introduce infrastructure and construction equipment, so we have huge plans,” said Shonhiwa.
“Tata showed confidence in this market, bought the current premises, invested at that time. So we have a long term view in terms of our presence in this market,” he said.
In the automotive industry, Shoniwa said Tata looks foward to boosting its presence to yesteryear levels when it used to supply vehicles to the District Development Fund.
“We want to get that footprint back and at the same time we also want to extend the Tata presence. At the moment we are only operating in Harare but we want to expand outside Harare,” he said.
Tata sealed a deal in 2008 with Blackwood Hodge Zimbabwe for distribution vehicles in the country. The Indian company acquired United Kingdom luxury automaker Jaguar Land Rover last year, expanded to more than 80 countries in Africa, Asia Pacific, China, Europe, the Middle East, North and South America.