‘Local investors must heed open for business mantra’

Source: ‘Local investors must heed open for business mantra’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe

LOCAL investors must swiftly grab opportunities arising from President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s “Open for Business” mantra, before competitive foreign capital moves in to grab these opportunities, local businessman Shingi Munyeza has warned.


Speaking during an Alpha Media Holdings dialogue in the capital yesterday, Munyeza warned local investors against skepticism on Mnangagwa’s invitation for investment.
“Let’s look at opportunities right now, somehow we are (delaying) waiting for a perfect environment,” he said.

“In the next six months if all goes well in the elections, those with might will come in and take over and we will be workers most of us.”

Since taking over from former President Robert Mugabe last November on the back of a military intervention, Mnangagwa has been inviting local and foreign investors into the country to help jumpstart the economy but his message has been received with mixed feelings particularly by local investors who seem to have taken a fence-sitting approach waiting for the outcome of the July 30 general elections.

Speaking at the same event, economist Vince Musewe urged local companies to up their competition because post-election competitiveness might drive them out of business.

“In the private sector we have chief executive officers who have been there for 20 years running a company that has been making losses. When companies with might come, they are going to be run out of business,” Musewe said.

Another economist Nyasha Kaseke, however, said locals were stalling in adopting Mnangagwa’s mantra because there were still issues to be addressed which were hampering the country’s ease of doing business.

“Policy inconsistency, (excessive) regulation, lack of finance and (high) taxes are some issues which must be looked at, this is why the locals are being hesitant to do business in Zimbabwe,” he said.

Zimbabwe ranks a lowly 159 out of 190 on the latest World Bank ease of doing business rankings, a situation which has continued to erode investor confidence in the economy.

Finance expert Deborah Peters said such rankings were responsible for creating an informal economy which was detrimental to Mnangagwa’s open for business mantra that seeks to attract formal investment.

“We will continue ranking 159 out of 190 because Zimbabwe takes 61 days to open a new business. The more regulation we have, the more informal traders we have because Investors look at rankings first,” Peters said.