Government’s Ease of Doing Business reform programme is beginning to yield tangible results, judging by the number of existing and new investors and countries that have opened shop or started operating in Zimbabwe.
While the processes of reforming the ease of doing business environment has not been completed, several milestones have been achieved, resulting in some existing businesses broadening the scope of their operations to generate more revenue.
In the last weeks there have been a flurry of activity with several companies commissioning new plants and investments as a show of confidence in the country and the steps that Government is taking to address the operating environment.
The companies have been broadening their operations to get maximum value from the business, and critically, enhance shareholder value.
President Mnangagwa recently commissioned Unki Mine’s $62 million second smelter at its Shurugwi operations.
On Monday, Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu commissioned the Sino Zimbabwe Cement Company’s US$10 million brick and tile plant in Gweru on behalf of President Mnangagwa. In the same vein there are new companies such as Sunny Yi Feng Tiles (Zimbabwe) that came to Zimbabwe seeking investment opportunities in October last year, have started operating at its US$120 million plant in Norton.
The President is expected to officially launch Sunny Yi Feng Tiles’ operations.
The company is already producing about 25 000 square metres of tiles per day against an installed capacity of 35 000 square metres.
Government says huge progress has been recorded in the ease of doing business reform programme, with procedures for property registration being reduced from five to four, while a credit registry has also been established.
Further, the number of small claims courts have now been increased from two to 10 while commercial courts have also been established in recent months. There is also a 41 percent reduction in compliance checkpoints at Beitbridge Border Post, a move that eases the doing business environment.
The key reforms involve removal of regulatory, transactional and administrative hurdles in doing business, resulting in investors developing a huge appetite to do business in Zimbabwe.
A lot of administrative procedures, timelines and costs have been reviewed and streamlined between February 12 and April 29, 2019, to facilitate the ease of doing business.
It is therefore refreshing that Government’s efforts thus far have not skipped the attention of diplomats from many Western and Eastern countries who expressed satisfactions with the scope of reforms Government has embarked on to improve the country’s economic and political environment.
US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Brian Nichols expressed happiness in the reform process on behalf of diplomats from the EU, the UK, Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany.
He said this when they paid a courtesy call on Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda.
While we appreciate the comments from the envoys on reforms in the country it is our hope that they will relay the same sentiments to their home countries and hopefully they will assist in changing their stance on Zimbabwe and lead to the removal of sanctions against the country, which will undoubtedly give more impetus to the investment drive and economic turnaround.
We also hope that they will heed the call by Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Guo Shaochun during the officially commissioning of the Sino Zimbabwe Cement Company who while noting the progress made called for removal of sanctions against the country.
“We hope that through our joint efforts we will be able to provide more support for Zimbabwe to rebuild and restore its industry system, achieve economic independence and the suffering of Zimbabwe people caused by illegal and unjust sanctions.
“In any case, it’s unfair to impose unilateral illegal sanctions against another country and its people. This is a typical practice of power politics,” he said.
Mr Guo said China was delighted to see that the Government has recently made a series of policy reforms to attract foreign investments.
“In the meantime, we expect the Zimbabwean Government to provide more facilities to foreign investments in the aspect of land use, tax exemption for imported equipment or spare parts for investments purposes and the arrangement of use of foreign currency.”
This is the kind of support and encouragement that the country needs the most at this moment and we hope that other nations will in time come to realise this.