via Govt appeals to private sector – DailyNews Live by Ndakaziva Majaka 1 APRIL 2014
Government’s has appealed to the private sector to help it in the implementation of its ambitious economic blueprint Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset).
In the next four years, government targets to create 2,2 million jobs, unlock $1,8 trillion in idle mineral reserves and grow the economy by an average seven percent annually, among other objectives under ZimAsset.
Mike Bimha, Industry minister in President Robert Mugabe’s Cabinet, told a Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) conference last Thursday that government was facing a policy implementation crisis.
“As we all know, the country has got policies that fall short in the implementation department,” he said.
“I am appealing to the private sector to help government in the implementation of these policies to speed up economic development,” he added.
The ZNCC conference, funded by the British embassy was a forum created to facilitate deliberations on seven research papers by the private sector focused on solving the economic woes besieging the country.
The papers will be presented to government. Bimha said the country needs to formulate credible policy proposals that address issues like strengthening fiscal management, reducing financial sector vulnerability and improving the business climate to attract investment and enhance competitiveness.
“The seven papers… are all designed to get input from public for investment climate reform. (They are coming at a time when according to the World Bank Doing Business Index of 2013, Zimbabwe was ranked 72 out of 185,” he said.
ZimAsset comes on the back of a string of economic policies that have failed to inspire confidence in the country’s economy.
These include the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme, Zimbabwe Programme for Economic and Social Transformation and the abandoned Medium Term Plan that was supposed to run until next year, among others.
The World Bank has said five years of implementing investor-friendly policies in Zimbabwe’s mining sector alone could increase annual output by $5 billion.
Meanwhile, deputy British ambassador to the country Chris Brown said Zimbabwe would lag behind its African peers in development if its government does not enforce investor-friendly policies.
The investment-starved country is desperately trying to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and access international lines of credit.
But investors and financiers are wary of its policies, particularly the indigenisation law compelling foreigners to cede majority shareholding to black locals.
“Zimbabwe should look directly at the elephant in the room, the continued uncertainty over the implementation of the indigenisation and economic empowerment.
“Zimbabwe should therefore follow an investor friendly path and this alone would give a seven percent GDP growth per year. This is ignoring her abundant agricultural resources and exceptionally-educated labour force,” Brown said.
The British diplomat said investors would continue shunning the country if their concerns about the business climate are not addressed.