Mnangagwa says Zimbabwe an investment destination of choice





ZIMBABWE is a destination of choice in terms of investments with the country going up the ladder in the list of destinations with sound ease of doing business policies that will propel it to become an upper-middle-class economy by 2030, President Mnangagwa has said.

In an interview with Zimpapers Television Network (ZTN) aired on Friday, President Mnangagwa said the country had been opened up to the world after decades of isolation from the rest of the world.

“We have been a closed nation, a nation for the last two decades that has been isolated. We are extremely grateful that we have been invited to this extremely great Expo 2020 in Dubai. We want to be there as Zimbabwe to showcase ourselves, the opportunities that are bound in our country in terms of investments, in terms of tourism and just in terms of coming to enjoy the great climate and sunshine that Zimbabwe enjoys throughout the year,” he said.

The President said the ease of doing business was a serious task that must see investors having confidence in the country and its products.

“Attracting investment into a country is not an issue of guessing, you must create an environment where the investor feels comfortable to go and invest. Under the Second Republic we looked at ourselves and said we need to go and be competitive worldwide in terms of attracting global capital to our country.

“In doing so we looked at issues to attend to in order to have the ease of doing business, the cost of doing that business and in that direction under a year we were removed from a very low level and we went up 16 steps just within a year and it shows that we are very focused and we continue to improve areas where we think we remain less competitive as compared to other regional states as well as on the continents,” he said.

The President said a new index which will be released soon will find Zimbabwe having gone more steps up the ladder in terms of being a friendly nation business wise also owing to developments in that area.

“So many pieces of legislation have been passed and we have also created Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (Zida) where an investor comes to a one stop centre where one gets answers to all questions they may want to ask about investments in the country, it does not matter what sector so that again cuts down the number of days an investor would want to know whether he is going to put his money or make money in Zimbabwe,” he said.

He reiterated that sanctions and restrictive indigenisation laws, among other things had a hand in limiting investors from coming to Zimbabwe.

“What had critically crippled or constrained investment into Zimbabwe, besides the sanctions was the issue of our laws relating to indigenisation which under the Second Republic we relaxed and removed the need to have 51 percent, now, investment is open . . . there is no fixed model for any investor who will come into this country and invest, there are no conditions on how one must invest in the country, it’s your choice, all what we need is to make sure we have a win-win situation between the investor and the country, that is what is critically important.

Secondly, we have made sure we are competitive in that if an investor wants to register a company, in the past it would take perhaps three months, now it takes less than three days, so with a very minimum period he can have all his questions answered immediately at the investment centre, Zida,” he added.

President Mnangagwa said the indigenisation policy was on the bedrock of socialist principles where at that time, the nation felt that the indigenous people must always have 51 percent of every investment coming into the country.

“That now has been removed, you can invest if you have partners, if you wish you can own 100 percent of a company in Zimbabwe, all what we want is that you are investing in our country and you are bringing skills, you are bringing technology, we also get corporate taxes and so on, levies are there. We just need to be competitive, if an investor will look at Zimbabwe and any other country and makes a choice, obviously you choose Zimbabwe, because of the environment,” said the President.

He, however, said it was not a free for all in totality.

“There is one area which is reserved, it is diamonds. We are still looking at the diamond industry policy, there we have not totally opened, the rest we have opened, the mining sector, the rest of agriculture, infrastructure development, tourism, ICT, it’s open,” he said.

Turning to the rule of law, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was keen on democracy than any other nation.

“I can assure you that the people who want democracy more than anyone are the Zimbabweans because we went to war for 16 years to have our independence so we are champions of democracy. In our Constitution of Zimbabwe, are there elements of the Constitution that one would say the Constitution is undemocratic? No. We are for the rule of law but most importantly we would want everyone not to be above the law. It doesn’t matter who you are if you breach our laws, the law must take its course,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said his administration was totally against corruption which had taken root and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) has been instituted together with other agencies to support the fight against corruption.

He said some committees had been created in the over 260 public institutions in the country and the first 21 institutions will this year have commissions and committees to monitor corruption in these institutions.

“I can assure you that it needs the cooperation of the private sector, the co-operation of the institutions and justice systems as well as resourced investigations committees like Zacc. Besides, there should be no sacred cows in fighting corruption.

We must make sure that we protect whistle blowers, we must protect those people who get affected if they expose corruption. It is critically important and all these pieces of legislation. The fight against corruption in this country is taking root, it may take time but it’s important that we fight it,” he said.

Asked on the “catch and release” syndrome President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe observes the Principle of Separation of Powers.

“It is not the Government which convicts. The principle of Separation of Powers is that the legislature makes the laws, the executive runs the country as a Government and the judiciary interprets the law. As Government we make sure that crimes when committed are sent to the judiciary, we cannot be made responsible for the failure of the judiciary to execute their mandate.

The public must make a cry against the judiciary because they are independent and I as the President cannot direct the Chief Justice and the bench to decide one way or the other. This perception that once a member of the opposition commits a crime and is taken to court then he feels he is persecuted, no, law is the same whether you are in the opposition or in Government or anywhere. The law is the same for everybody with no fear or favour.”

He said the land reform and the compensation on improvements on farms was on track with funds, time frames and other modalities having been agreed on with the farmers.

“Fortunately, we have discussed with the representatives of those farmers who lost their land and amicably we have come to an agreement to how we assess the value of improvements on the farms and we have come to a compromise of the US$3,5 billion and we have agreed with the mode of payment over a period of time and this is on course,” he said.

President Mnangagwa also said the re-engagement programme was on course with the Second Republic saying results were positive with many countries in the EU engaging with Zimbabwe. President Mnangagwa sang praises for his economic development team which he said surprised him at the level at which they had managed to accomplish the vision of economic grown and reduction of inflation.

He said the team was focused and also cushioning the people with various safety nets and also ensuring devolution funds were benefiting the communities throughout the country. — @NyembeziMu

Source – Sunday News