By Happiness Zengeni
President Mnangagwa and his high-powered delegation arrived here yesterday for the 48th World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meetings where he is expected to present the country’s investment guidelines and opportunities.
This is President Mnangagwa’s maiden international business engagement since he took office on November 24, and his public policies that have a strong bias towards quick economic recovery, have won him worldwide notice.
He was received at Zurich International Airport by the country’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN and other international organisations in Geneva Charles Chishiri, Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Rtd Colonel Christian Katsande, senior trade attachee Mr Julia Mapungwane and Senior Principal director in charge of Policy Mr Oasis Hove among others. As one of the world’s biggest business forum gathers momentum, the Investment Guidelines, prepared by the Office of the President and Cabinet, are one of the major trump cards that will help restore foreign investors’ confidence.
Government recently launched Investment Guidelines and Opportunities in Zimbabwe handbook in Harare to provide foreign investors with the much needed guarantee that their capital will be safe and remitted back to their home countries when they desire.
In an interview with The Herald in Zurich Switzerland en route to the Davos yesterday, Mr Hove said President Mnangagwa would issue the Investment Guidelines that he launched in Harare last week.
“His Excellency the President is going to issue in Davos Investment document called Investment Guidelines and Procedures. You recall that earlier on in Harare His Excellency had the opportunity to formally launch this document which summarizes very clearly the conditions under which foreign investors will operate in the country. Those conditions have been improved upon – better conditions, better terms and better protection of investments particularly if you consider that the document refers to the availability of special economic zones where it is expected that our industries can be set up to grow this economy, employ more people and grow exports. Therefore in Davos here we expect the investors to be better guided, to be better attracted with the new dispensation, the new era, where all investors are welcome. The President said the country is open for business and a facilitation of a first class order will be done to all investors. The Bippas (Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements) are also referred to in the foreign investment guidelines,” he said.
“They are going to be attended to in terms of the law and the law is providing that in the new dispensation – in the new era – in the remote event that any agreements have got to be changed, the provisions of the law will direct and require that prompt compensation is done and in any, event Bipas require that what we do to foreign investors, we do the same to domestic investors. We are not going to discriminate anyone against and that is clearly captured in the investment policy guidelines that have been issued.”
The Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) chief executive Richard Mbaiwa, who is also part of the delegation, said the guidelines clarified dividend remittance procedure and boost investor confidence.
“On the exchange control issues where investors want to take out their money, I think the guarantee is given in the policy itself. If you look at our exchange control regulations and I think the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor (Dr John Mangudya) is going to pronounce this in his Monetary Policy Statement. “It is very clear that, for example, remittances of dividends and capital is allowed for investors. The policy is very clear on that, investors will be able to remit their dividends,” said Mr Mbaiwa.
He said the launch of the investment guidelines will highlight Government’s commitment towards attracting investment as well as ensuring policy clarity and consistency.
In the new guidelines there are some policy adjustments that were made that include exchange control regulations.
Government, however, is looking at capturing the investment guidelines in the Finance Act as previously pronounced by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Patrick Chinamasa.
“It is important that as a country we have guidelines that show investors the policy of Government towards investment and also where the guidelines indicate the areas of priority and the opportunities that are available in the various sectors of the economy, so it is a very important document that will guide investors in terms of the way they should invest in Zimbabwe. There are some policy adjustments that have been done and also the current book consolidates the various areas like the exchange control regulations and it also puts the opportunities in the various sectors of the economy. It also captures some of the policy statements in terms of what has already been pronounced. These guidelines are important because they are current and up to date towards national policy on investment,” Mr Mbaiwa said.
“When a policy pronouncement is made, there is need to then tie it up with the legislation. For instance, some of the policy issues will definitely be captured in the Finance Act. We want to tie it up with the legislation that should be done, for example, some of the policy’s issues will definitely be captured in the Finance Act, for example what the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning pronounced in his National Budget statement,” he said.
On the World Economic Forum, Mr Mbaiwa said it is not only important to showcase the opportunities that are available in Zimbabwe but to bring confidence to investors that Zimbabwe is open for business.
He said the message has always been that “Zimbabwe is now open for business.”
“For this World Economic Forum, what is important is to not only showcase the opportunities that are available in Zimbabwe but to bring confidence to investors that Zimbabwe is open for business. I think this is the most important message that we are bringing to the investors that we are going to engage during this conference,” he said.
Meanwhile the World Economic Forum and 15 of its partners recently launched a financial inclusion measurement framework to assist the world’s unbanked through leveraging digital financial services.
This comes as Dr Mangudya has been pushing for financial inclusion in the economy.