Govt worried over ministers’ work culture

Source: Govt worried over ministers’ work culture | The Herald September 6, 2019

Govt worried over ministers’ work culture
Dr Misheck Sibanda

Joseph Madzimure Senior Reporter
GOVERNMENT is concerned by the lack of urgency in some ministries, which is derailing reforms on ease of doing business. The measures are aimed at creating a conducive environment to turn Zimbabwe into a competitive destination of choice. This was said by Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda yesterday while launching the 2020-2021 Edition of the of Ease of Doing Business Reform Programme.

Dr Sibanda said it was imperative that “we step up all our efforts in order to realise the meaningful investment that we dearly yearn for”.

“The attitude by some Government ministries in lacking urgency to resolve outstanding bottlenecks is regrettable, to say the least. Acting lackadaisically when dealing with economic reforms of national interest is a complete departure from the agreed Government investment drive,” said Dr Sibanda.

“This, I must say, is totally unacceptable under the New Dispensation. I wish to remind colleagues that these reforms are strategic in nature for our economic revival and development as a nation in this competitive global economy. By their nature, they constitute a core element of your performance assessment for your tenure of office.

“As we embark upon another phase of Ease of Doing Business reforms implementation, I therefore impress upon you to lead from the front in championing the change we all aspire in order to support the existing business as well as attracting the much needed domestic and foreign investment.”

The private sector has raised concern over what appears to be lack of urgency in some ministries to resolve the outstanding bottlenecks in the Ease of Doing business reforms.

There are worries over delays in issuance of requisite permits leading to delays or cancellation of orders by suppliers or customers.

Dr Sibanda said such delays were contrary to the spirit and intent of improving the business environment.

In the first phase of ease of doing business reforms, Government identified 14 laws that needed to be reviewed, with eight of them having been passed.

Some of the passed laws include the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act, and the Movable Property Securities Interests Act.

The reform process commenced in 2015.

As the reforms gather pace, the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA), has since been set up to ensure investors do not move from pillar to pillar when they come into the country.

The Second Republic has also established two commercial courts in Harare and Bulawayo as part of the reform programme.

In addition to the legislative and institutional reforms, some administrative procedures have also been reviewed and mainstreamed to reduce the attendant bottlenecks.

The developments in line with President Mnangagwa’s “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” mantra.

Dr Sibanda said improving the ease of doing business was high on the national socio-economic development agenda to achieve targets as set out in the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP).

The TSP is short-term economic blueprint that runs from October 2018 to 2020.

Under the TSP, Government is correcting the economic imprudence of the previous dispensation, which include fiscal and monetary indiscipline and distortions in the foreign exchange market, among others.

Said Dr Sibanda: “Pursuant to the attainment of Vision 2030, the reform programme seeks to create a conducive and supportive business environment and make Zimbabwe a competitive destination of choice for investors in line with the mantra ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’.”

Dr Sibanda said there was need for “maximum effort” in the reform exercise if the country was to improve the investment climate.

Presently, Zimbabwe ranks 155th out of 189 global economies.

But neighbours South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia are ranked 82, 86 and 87 respectively.

To achieve the desired level of national socio-economic development, Dr Sibanda said there was urgent need for a shared vision and collective responsibility involving the Government, private sector, development partners and non-state actors.