Zimbabwe is stuck with its indigenization bid after locals failed to respond to a call by the government for black Zimbabwean citizens to submit applications and proposals for buying stakes in foreign owned companies.

Zimbabweans are too broke, a situation worsened by the country's harsh economic environment which has seen inflation surge above 300,000 percent for the month of March.

Mineweb recently reported that Zimbabwe's troubled government had begun the process for transfer of shares from foreign owned companies to local black citizens under the Economic Indigenization and Empowerment Act after the government had invited people to submit applications and proposals for the purchase of stakes.

Ozias Hove, Zimbabwe's secretary in the ministry of Indigenization and Empowerment said prospective buyers of stakes had failed to meet last Friday's deadline for submission of applications.

Another government official revealed that there was little response to the call for submission of interest and proposals.

We had assumed that all stakeholders had already done their consultations, Hove said. Some stakeholders wanted time to consult to ensure that their submissions will be all inclusive because we are talking of strategic businesses.

He said his ministry has since extended the deadline.

The Economic Empowerment and Indigenisation Act hugely viewed as a draconian legislation came into force in March when it was assented to by President Mugabe.

The legislation, which seeks to grab shareholding stakes of up to 51 percent in foreign owned companies, is believed to be President Mugabe's latest ploy to win over votes of the country's economically devastated citizens ahead of the disputed run-off between Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai next month.

The Government has insisted that no shares would be given for free as investors would agree on a price of shares with concerned companies.

The cash-strapped Zimbabwe government has also established an indigenisation fund to pool resources to assist locals meet the financial obligations for the acquisition of shares from companies in strategic areas of the economy such as mining.