Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has signed a law that gives local owners the right to take majority control of foreign companies, including mines and banks.

The state-run Sunday Mail newspaper reports that the bill became law when published in the official Government Gazette on Friday.

The law says indigenous Zimbabweans shall own at least 51 percent of "every public company and other businesses."  It says the government will conduct a review of every company, and has the power to impose new ownership arrangements.

Parliament passed the bill last September over objections from opposition lawmakers.  Those lawmakers said the law could scare away the few foreign investors still in the impoverished African country. 

Several foreign banks said at the time they may pull out of Zimbabwe if they lose their majority stakes.

President Mugabe says the law is needed to empower the country's poor, black majority.

Mr. Mugabe is currently running for a sixth term as president.  Zimbabweans go to polls on March 29.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.