Telecel saga scares away investors

via Telecel saga scares away investors – DailyNews Live 7 May 2015

HARARE – Last week’s handling of the Telecel saga by government leaves a lot to be desired as it has consequences of scaring away potential investors at a time the economy is in the doldrums and in dire need of fresh capital to jump-start it.

President Robert Mugabe’s administration showed all and sundry — for the umpteenth time, that the country does not care about property rights and the welfare of the ordinary citizens.

In its wisdom, or lack of it, the government, through the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) — decided to shut down Telecel without even thinking about the welfare of over 1 800 workers.

Assuming that these workers have at least three people to take care of, then it means close to 5 000 people will suffer downstream because of our government’s insensitiveness.

If we add the issue of the controversial land reform exercise where thousands of farmers lost their life-time savings without compensation, the Zanu PF-led government has not only made it difficult for the economy to attract foreign direct investment but has made sure the economy collapses at a faster pace.

As the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (Zia) toils to attract more investment, other quarters in government are working hard to pursue personal interests.

Reports have been circulating that the responsible minister is fronting for some heavyweights who want to buy the mobile network operator for a song.

Mugabe openly told supporters at the independence commemorations that government officials were responsible for the dismal FDI statistics the country was recording as they “pursue their interests above national interests”.

In past years, investors have skirted Zimbabwe, with analysts arguing that the indigenisation policy — compelling foreigners to cede majority shareholding to black Zimbabweans — is one of the major obstacles to attracting capital.

Before creating a ripple effect of panic, discord and uncertainty, government should have made the same attempts it is making now to salvage the future of one of the country’s biggest private employers.

Zimbabwe’s FDI inflows plummeted by 53 percent to $146, 6 million in the 10 months to October 2014 compared to $311,3 million recorded in the same period the previous year, according to Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa.

Last year, the treasury chief said the foreign capital inflows remained subdued due to the perceived country risk, and the way Telecel was handled leaves a sour taste in the mouth, and brings attention to the recent suspension of Meikles Limited from the local bourse, without the hotelier’s knowledge.

According to Meikles chairman, John Moxon, the group was just told it had been suspended from trading without prior warning.

While, Meikles is now active on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, government’s treatment of private companies remains worrying.


  • comment-avatar
    Tinomunamataishe 7 years ago

    That goes without saying. These guys don’t care as long as they get whatever they want.

    The thinking in Zanu PF is that investors who come in should benefit the ruling class and nobody else. Whether jobs are lost or not is none of their business.

  • comment-avatar
    Mupurisa 7 years ago

    The heading of this article is rather misleading – I mean, it’s not as though investors were queuing to invest in Zimbabwe. Most investors are fortunately quite ‘wide awake’ by now to ZANU PF’s Rape & Pillage.

    I think this Telecel issue is more likely to have helped any potential investors to make up their minds, and realize once and for all, that while ZANU PF is ‘driving the bus’, there is really no point of getting aboard!