PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has challenged the newly established Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (Zida) to promote the ease of doing business by removing cumbersome requirements for the registration of new companies.
Zimbabwe ranks lowly in the ease of doing business index due to bureaucratic red tape in government departments, a situation that has discouraged investors.
Speaking at the official launch of Zida last night, Mnangagwa said: “The days when investors endured the cumbersome, bureaucratic and lethargic referral pathways to set up business in our country must permanently be behind us.”
Zida is mandated with championing strategies that promote both foreign and domestic investment.
“Action and results must be at the centre of this organisation, through tangible and concrete investments towards transforming, industrialising, modernising and growing our economy,” Mnangagwa said.
He urged the Zida board to benchmark Zimbabwe’s investment strategies against those of attractive regional and international investment destinations.
Zimbabwe has since the turn of the millennium failed to attract meaningful investment, with the country recording only US$470 million in 2018, a far cry from regional counterparts like Mozambique which has been attracting inflows running into billions of dollars per annum.
Inflation, currency volatility and general political instability have marred the country’s investment image. While investors were upbeat about pouring billions into the economy when Mnangagwa was catapulted into power by a military coup that toppled long-time ruler Robert Mugabe, not much investment has come into the country in the past three years.
Zimbabwe has continued to wallow on the margins while other African countries receive billions in investment.
“We must continuously improve and make progress on the rankings of the Ease of Doing Business,” Mnangagwa said.
Mnangagwa said the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (ZimStat) will partner with the Finance ministry to produce provincial economic data for the first time.
“The crucial data, coupled with Zida’s-cross cutting roles must result in translating provincial comparative advantage and opportunities into viable investments that spur growth of provincial economies,” Mnangagwa said.
– STAFF WRITER