THE Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda has blasted some ministers for their “lethargic” response to implementing investment proposals thereby frustrating efforts to rejuvenate the economy.
Several potential business deals with different foreign investors have taken long to be implemented because of a slow response by relevant ministries. Speaking during a seminar on the ease of doing business in Bulawayo on Friday, Mudenda slated some government officials for frustrating investors.
“Ambassadors write project proposals on investment but everywhere where we’ve gone, they (ambassadors) are frustrated. Indonesia, for example, has written to us saying they wanted 10 tonnes of meat supply from Zimbabwe and 10 tonnes of soya beans per month but the Ministries of Agriculture and Foreign Affairs haven’t moved,” said Mudenda.
“We’re failing to export to the EU (European Union) at times because of poor communication with embassies here at home.”
He also said Zimbabwe was yet to sign an investment agreement with Kuwait despite insistence by that country to bring more business here.
“When we went to Kuwait two weeks after His Excellency (President Robert Mugabe) had presented clarification on that beautiful indigenisation policy, our ambassador there didn’t have a copy of the document to clarify indigenisation, a very important statement from his Head of State which answers his questions to investors, no transmission for that,” said Mudenda.
“They’re saying they want to bring money here for projects but they want documents signed to that effect. Up to now no agreement between Zimbabwe and Kuwait has been signed.”
“With Kenya, the trade protocol for the joint commission was signed in 1997 and no meeting has taken place since then, yet Kenya is a huge market for us. Ambassador Kelebert Nkomani has written several times and Dr (Ray) Ndhlukula knows that. Then we say we’re rich but you’re not doing the ease of doing business by mere communication,” he blasted.
Ndhlukula, who is Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, attended the meeting.
Mudenda said the legislature was concerned about the pace of economic projects’ implementation and challenged policy makers and government officials to do their work as expected.
He also took a swipe at bureaucratic tendencies for stifling progress saying often government officials do not respond on time to communication sent to them.
“It’s time for a radical paradigm shift from our business as usual approach to business unusual,” said Mudenda.
He said the ease of doing business reform process, which is spearheaded by the Office of the President and Cabinet, seeks to come up with a long term strategy for revamping Zimbabwe’s economy.
Mudenda said the process was aimed at coming up with a clear link on the ease of doing business with Zim-Asset, the country’s five-year economic development blueprint, and its targets.
Zimbabwe is targeting landing a top 20 position in the global ease of doing business ranking, which will position it for increased investment.
The process entails creating an enabling business climate through a review of investment regulations and procedures, policy changes and removal of structural bottlenecks that hinder business growth.
At the moment the country is placed on position 155 from 189, according to the World Bank.
Parliament had organised the two-day meeting, which was attended by ministers, legislators, business executives and technocrats. chronicle