HARARE – It is high time that Zimbabwe should come up with proper policies that woo investors into the country.
The controversial indigenisation policy, in particular, has been a major scare to foreign financiers.
The policy, which demands that foreign companies cede 51 percent of their shareholding to locals has proved to be militating against Zimbabwe’s development.
Although President Robert Mugabe recently tasked parliamentarians to amend the empowerment law, the greatest impediment will come with the country’s adherence to its own prescriptions.
Mugabe has never kept his word even on the back of policy pronouncements. The flawed empowerment law has created havoc in the Mugabe-led administration, with several of his top lieutenants often contradicting and failing to interpret it properly.
The failure to interpret it has created confusion, thrusting potential investors in unwarranted uncertainty. Zimbabwe badly needs foreign direct investment to help it emerge from the current economic crisis.
Policy inconsistency has become part of the Zanu PF DNA, affecting several of the country’s productive sectors, including mining and manufacturing.
Early this year, government ordered all companies that were mining in Chiadzwa to stop operations by refusing to renew their licences.
This was despite claims by some of the companies that they were operating based on agreements emanating from bilateral agreements between Zimbabwe and the firms’ native countries.
Such violations of basic agreements are not consistent with the national drive to promote Zimbabwe as a good investment destination. Perhaps it is also important to point out that the country’s failure to respect property rights has also led to investors taking their money elsewhere.
Mugabe authorised the often-violent seizure of white-owned farms at the turn of the millennium for reasons of political expediency. His populist policies are designed to win him votes, which in turn guarantees him further stay in office, despite his obvious failure to steer the country forward.
Mugabe bends the law at will, whenever it is favourable to his power-maintenance scheme, but this is coming at a cost which future generations will not forgive us for.
Owing to his inconsistent policies, Zimbabwe has failed to register meaningful growth over the years, with significant deterioration of the standards of living for ordinary citizens.
The country’s economy has been on a downturn in recent years with unemployment figures sky-rocketing by the day as hundreds of companies continue to shut down.
Zanu PF’s promise to create two million jobs in the run-up to the controversial July 2013 elections has remained pie in the sky.
On the other hand, corruption has continued to dent the country’s growth potential with officials often asking for bribes from investors.