BY SILAS NKALA
BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) claims that it has been inundated with expression of interest from foreign companies seeking to invest in various sectors of the economic in the country’s second largest city.
Town clerk Christopher Dube said the enquiries came after the local authority announced plans to set up a smart industrial park.
This is revealed in the latest council minutes when Dube was explaining the criterion used by council to process expressions of interest by foreign investors.
Dube said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra had ignited interest from foreign investors who want to explore new investment opportunities in the country.
“The City of Bulawayo, like other local authorities, was now inundated with foreign companies seeking investment opportunities in various sectors of the economy,” read part of the minutes.
“These investors rightly expected that their expressions of interest were processed timeously in line with the policy thrust that ‘Zimbabwe is open for business,” the minutes read.
“However, the current processes or procedures that were used to handle investors required that some investments on designated land should go through the tender process to ensure transparency and reduce incidents of corruption.
“This process had resulted in delays in processing expressions of interest and in some cases cancellation of investment deals as local authorities failed to conclude the deals within a reasonable period.”
The minutes revealed that in the past, when local authorities were overwhelmed by unsolicited bids from companies looking for investment opportunities, the government had directed that each council should advertise a prospectus including all development, service delivery and partnership opportunities.
“In view of the foregoing, it was critical that council designed a policy or procedure guidelines that would enable management to process expressions of interest from foreign investors in the spirit of ease of doing business,” the minutes added. “This would ensure that all foreign investment expressions of interest were processed and concluded within a reasonable period.”
The council then resolved that the local authority be allowed to follow up on the proposed guidelines in processing expressions of interest from foreign investors as and when they are received.
Council’s economic development officer Kholisani Moyo recently said the city was targeting the health sector, solar systems at clinics and conversion of solid waste to energy and medical tourism.