Zimbabwe Ruling Party Reaffirms Decision To De-List Old Mutual
Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu PF has reaffirmed its decision to have one of the country’s biggest financial services groups, Old Mutual Zimbabwe, de-listed from the local stock exchange.
This comes after Old Mutual released a statement seeking clarification after President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s party announced that it had endorsed a decision to “eject Old Mutual from the financial system”. Old Mutual has attracted the ire of the ruling Zanu PF party which accuses the company of fuelling the rise in the black market foreign exchange rates due to the Old Mutual Implied Rate (OMIR).
Below is the full statement from Zanu PF regarding the de-listing of Old Mutual from the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
ZANU PF STATEMENT CLARIFYING ITS POSITION ON THE TRADING OF OLD MUTUAL SHARES ON THE ZIMBABWE’S STOCK EXCHANGE
For a better appreciation and understanding of the position taken by ZANU PF at its 341st session of the Politburo on Friday the 9th of July 2020, we give below the prevailing situation, the concerns of ZANU PF as well as the decision that ZANU PF is directing government to implement.
- Old Mutual Limited is a global conglomerate operating in 14 countries Zimbabwe included and is the conglomerate listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE).
- Old Mutual Limited is listed on the Johannesburg stock exchange (SA) Africa, London Stock Exchange, Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, Stock Exchange of Namibia and on the Malawi Stock Exchange
- Old Mutual limited shares which are listed in all these countries are the same and can be transferred across the various exchanges i.e they are fungible. Fungibility of the Zimbabwean shares was suspended for 12 months in February 2020
- Old Mutual dividends are paid in SA Rands which therefore represents foreign earnings for the country in respect of the shares on the Zimbabwean register
- Old Mutual has 65 718 552 shares listed on the ZSE with a market value estimated at SAR849million
- In Zimbabwe, Old Mutual Limited has 30 168 shareholders made up of pension funds, local institutions and individuals
- The shares listed on ZSE trade in local currency i.e Zimbabwean dollars
- Other fungible shares on the ZSE include PPC listed on JSE and Seedco International which is listed on the Botswana Stock exchange
- Old Mutual Zimbabwe Limited is a subsidiary of the Old Mutual Limited and is not the one directly listed on the ZSE
CONCERNS OF ZANU PF REPRESENTING THE PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE
Stock Exchanges primary function is to raise capital in the productive sector and continuing opportunities to build wealth in the secondary market.
ZSE has not had any new listings and this is of grave concern to the Party. As a result, the ZSE is now being used for speculative purposes which is harmful to the economy.
Distortions have risen emanating from the Old Mutual share being traded on multiple stock exchange counters. The distortions emanate fundamentally from differences from the relative strengths of the underlying economies in which the Old Mutual shares are listed.
This fact alone has created an opportunity for fungibility to generate arbitrage gains. Fungibility creates an opportunity for speculation as there are arbitrage opportunities to trade the share between Zimbabwe and other stock exchanges. This speculation may distort the foreign currency market.
Fungibility is open to the risk of being abused as has been the case in Zimbabwe and has become a vehicle to externalise capital out of Zimbabwe.
Allowing the Old Mutual share to be traded on multiple stock exchanges has given rise to the Old Mutual Implied Rate (OMIR).
Fungibility has created an opportunity for the determination of the foreign exchange rate in Zimbabwe to be determined from activities emanating from actions of speculators operating on the stock exchange.
Share prices react to investor sentiment and exchange rates react to demand and supply of foreign currency by importers and exporters.
A share price can therefore not be substituted as a reference indicator for exchange rates because it is not driven by similar fundamentals, i.e speculators versus importers and exporters are dissimilar.
ZANU-PF is surprised that the fungibility of the shares of one organisation is used as a benchmark for the exchange rate.
This makes this counterpart of the drivers of the mirage of economic problems centred on our parallel market.
This clandestine trade in the dollar has forced the Black Market Rate to keep pace with the OMIR condemning our people to destitution as their wages and salaries are eroded every day.
There is no employment creation, no products on our shelves neither do we see a rise in the standard of living of our people from speculative wealth creation by a few.
ZANU PF is at a loss to understand how the government of the day can run an economy where the fungibility of the shares of one company create money, externalise funds and determine the rate of exchange.
ZANU PF CLARIFIES AND REAFFIRMS ITS POLICY POSITION
ZANU PF is totally opposed to the fungibility of the Old Mutual Shares and to this end it reaffirms its policy position that the ZSE should compulsorily de-list the Old Mutual Limited shares from trading on the ZSE.
To protect the interests of the 30168 shareholders of Old Mutual Limited, ZANU PF is recommending to its government that it sets up a stock exchange which will trade only in US$.
Old Mutual Limited can then be allowed to migrate, find home and trade on such a foreign currency-denominated counter in Zimbabwe. Trading on other counters has been normal and the Party is recommending that trading be resumed.
Setting up a foreign exchange denominated stock exchange is an appropriate institution for raising and attracting foreign direct investment into Zimbabwe.
Companies that want to invest in Zimbabwe and requiring foreign currency would then list on such a stock exchange to attract foreign direct investment in foreign currency for investment.
The details of implementing this recommendation are left to government including the timeframe within which this recommendation can be implemented.
It is the desire of ZANU PF that implementation is in the shortest possible time to avoid undue disruption to inflows of investment capital.
ZANU PF says an emphatic NO, to self-enrichment through speculative trading and externalisation.
ZANU PF also wishes to commend government for the decision that it has taken to allow mobile money operators to be overseen by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe through the Zim-Switch platform.
As a matter of fact, ZANU PF considers this decision to be a masterstroke which will give an invisible hand to the government to manage and direct the country towards a common good.
The channelling of all mobile money transactions through this platform is the right thing to do and will, in the end, restore stability and sanity to the banking sector.
Mobile money transaction platforms had become a law unto themselves making rules for banks and others to comply with.
ZANU PF thus supports the measures that the government has taken in this regard as it considers them necessary medicine to cure our economy which is under siege.
The measures will no doubt in due course become a sound basis for strategic sustainable nation-building, a platform for robust employment creation for our people, stabilisation of the exchange rate and resuscitation of our key productive sectors.
It is high time that Zimbabwe corporates and foreign corporates working in Zimbabwe put Zimbabwean Interests First and deploy their resources to the productive sectors that generate employment, goods and services.
Cde P.A Chinamasa
Acting Secretary for Information and Publicity & Party Spokesperson
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