Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Govt sells reform agenda to investors at ZITF


The historic Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) has opened on a high note in Bulawayo, with the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) leading government departments in communicating the government’s reform agenda to investors at the fair.

With this year’s edition of the fair, the 60th, oversubscribed, the OPC has capitalised on the trade, networking and interaction platform between investors to explain the key component of the Transitional Stabilization Programme (TSP), which should play a key role in the realisation of a middle income economy by 2030.

Being showcased at the OPC pavilion is Zimbabwe’s Ease of Doing Business Reforms whose underlying objective is to create a business friendly environment by reviewing legislation, regulations, procedures, business-related costs, turn-around time as well as transactional and administrative bottlenecks that affect existing and prospective businesses in Zimbabwe.

“The reforms cover 10 main areas of business regulation that constitute and affect a business in its life cycle. These are: starting a business; dealing with construction permits; getting electricity; registering property; getting credit (accessing finance); protecting minority investors; paying taxes; trading across borders; enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. The ultimate aim of the reform process is to mobilize local and foreign investors in line with the President’s mantra that: Zimbabwe is Open for Business,” that is the message from the OPC at the stand.

According to the OPC, of special interest to the business environment is the Judicial Laws related to Settling Commercial Disputes enacted in 2017 focusing on enforcing contracts and protecting minority investors.

The government has established small Claims Courts in the 10 provinces to deal with civil disputes, and Commercial Courts at Magistrate level whose mandate is to expeditiously deal with commercial disputes, thus ensuring increased access to justice by our business sector. The OPC is also showcasing the One Stop Investment Service Center.

This comes as the government set up an interim committee of the One Stop Investment Services Centre (OSISC) in August 2018 to serve as a single point of contact for all investors wishing to invest in Zimbabwe, with the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) making the transitional arrangements for the establishment of the One Stop Centre.

“OSISC consists of 42 technical expects seconded from various government departments and agencies engaged in investments. It has to date processed and recommended projects for approval worth more than US$7 billion. OSISC has also among other things championed the production of the ZIDA Bill which has been gazzetted for debate by the legislature. The Bill entails the dissolution and reconfiguration of such agencies as: the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA); Joint Venture Unit (JVU); and the Special Economic Zones Authority (ZIMSEZA). The proposed ZIDA Act will therefore repeal the existing statutes establishing the above entities and create a one stop investment promotion and facilitation centre under which all investors will be provided with high quality services under one roof,” the OPC said.

The other area being highlighted at the OPC stand is the Policy Framework, with a view to communicating to the public how they can participate in policy formulation, and implementation as a way of ensuring that policies are inclusive.

The new dispensation aims to achieve an upper middle income status by the year 2030, with the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) being the key enabler.

The TSP has been running from 2018 and will continue up to 2020, with focus being on stabilising the economy and creating an enabling business environment and enhancing inclusive policy platforms in order to mobilise broad participation of the people in economic development.

Under the TSP, the new dispensation is also working on the state enterprises and corporate governance reforms with a view to enhancing their efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery and contribution to economic growth.

The reforms will see the restructuring, privatization, bench marking and other measures in order to enhance the contribution of state enterprises to service delivery and economic growth.

The ZITF 2019 fair will run from 23-27 April 2019 under the theme: ‘Propagating Industrial Growth Through Trade and Investment.’ 531 local exhibitors will participate at the fair, which will be officially opened by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.