Wednesday, 2 November 2016

MORE REFORMS NEEDED AS INVESTMENT TRAFFIC TUMBLES

Zimbabwe needs to introduce comprehensive reforms to meet its $5,5 billion ZimAsset annual investment target, after investment traffic tumbled 70 percent in the period to July on the back of policy uncertainty, a Zimbabwe Investment Authority (Zia) official said.

Zia chairman, Nigel Chanakira, last week told delegates at the Investor’s Awards that the country was still a long way from being the ideal investment destination, despite current efforts being made towards putting investor friendly policies.

“Just talking about it is not enough. We are punching way below our weight in terms of investment and it is disappointing that last year we only managed to attract about $500 million compared to the $5 billion we should have seen according to ZimAsset,” he said.

Chanakira said Zia and the Office of the President were working closely with the World Bank on reforms aimed at making the country an attractive investment destination after the country dropped six places from number 155 last year to 161 this year on the World Bank’s Doing Business Report  .

“Issues around the cost of doing business in the country along with the time it takes to register a company in Zimbabwe used to be major issues affecting investor sentiment.
“However, these offices and the World Bank are working on the Rapid Results Approach to address the situation.

“To date, Harare City Council has managed to cut the cost and duration it takes to run a business in the country,” Chanakira said.

He also pointed out that Zia had submitted several proposals for the 2017 National Budget to the ministry of Finance aimed at improving the ease of doing business locally.

“Among these proposals are recommendations that Zia works together with the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe on coming up with practical ways of attracting investment in the construction industry,” Chanakira said.

This comes as the Zia boss recently pointed out that policy inconsistencies were 
responsible for the poor investment inflows being recorded in the country.

He also said most investors had adopted a wait-and-see attitude with the country after several government pronouncements on clarification of the country’s empowerment laws.

“In April, the president clarified on Indigenisation, right now the process is sector specific and applications are now being processed through Zia in three working days.

“So what we need is for the diplomats here tonight to pass this message to investors from their countries. We have worked on the law and their investment is safe here” he said.
In the first half of 2016, investment approvals stood at $305,58 million from 84 projects compared to 67 that were approved same period last year.

“Last year, Zimbabwe received a record $3,1 billion of investment applications but only $421 million of those materialised to real investment inflows,” the Zia chief said.

He also revealed that 2015 had recorded the highest statistics for the authority, with the investment body expecting less statistics this year given the low investment traffic.

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