Treat investors fairly, Zim urged

via Treat investors fairly, Zim urged – DailyNews Live 13 September 2015

HARARE – The Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (Baz) has warned government to stop prioritising certain investors at the expense of others.

Baz president Sam Malaba said the same treatment awarded to Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote must be extended to all who wish to invest in Zimbabwe.

“The figures are not speaking well about our treatment of investors. If the Diaspora can remit $1,3 billion per year as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) nets a pathetic $400 million what does that say about us as an investment destination?,” Malaba queried stakeholders at an International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Finance ministry breakfast meeting this week.

“The Dangote speed must apply to everyone, it does not even make sense for it to take nine to 10 months for an investment to be approved yet in countries like Mauririus it can be done online,” he said.

Malaba said Zimbabwe — which had five options to source investment — was not in a position to get much from exports or internal savings.

“In the same light, we cannot get international financing due to our over $10 billion debt overhang, so the only other option we have is FDI. But this route cannot even materialise if we continue treating investors the way we currently are treating them. In other countries, they send delegations to scout for investment,” he said.

Malaba’s sentiments came after Zimbabwe Investment Authority (Zia) chairman Nigel Chanakira had revealed that Dangote’s team which was in the country early this week had secured the relevant investment approvals.

“Dangote’s papers were processed within days. We have so far processed 91 investment applications equalling $1,6 billion,” Chanakira said at the same event.

The Nigerian billionaire — with a net worth of $17,2 billion according to Forbes magazine — last week announced plans of investing locally in three sectors — power, energy and cement manufacturing — revealing he was going to set up a 1,5 million tonne cement grinding plant in Zimbabwe.

While investment-starved Zimbabwe has been desperately trying to attract FDI and access international lines of credit in order to revive its moribund economy, the country is notorious for long registration procedures which have been blamed for investor reluctance to inject capital into the country.

According to the latest United National Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report, FDI into the country surged 36 percent to $545 million in 2014 from $400 million registered in 2013.

Zia has been pushing for a slash of company start up registration fees.