ZIA to improve FDI stats

via ZIA to improve FDI stats | The Herald 2 July 2014 by Conrad Mwanawashe

Government and its technical partners have established a technical team to collect Foreign Direct Investment statistics in the country, an official has said. The Zimbabwe Investment Authority chief executive officer Mr Richard Mbaiwa told the portfolio committee of Foreign Affairs that the setting up of the committee was influenced by the need for Government to rely on data collected by its agents and technical partners.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development World Investment Report which was launched last week showed that FDI inflows to Zimbabwe, at $400 million, is lower than other southern African countries and there has not been a movement upwards or downwards in 2012 and 2013.

Mr Mbaiwa said the UNCTAD figures are “subjective” and may not be “accurate” though they are very reflective when looked at on a comparative basis.

“Because of this, with the assistance of UNCTAD we have established a technical working group which comprise ZIA, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Zimstats and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to collect FDI statistics in the country so that we have figures that we can be sure of and not depend on figures collected by other institutions. We are working on this exercise and we expect the first report to be published in December this year,” said Mr Mbaiwa.

Star performers in pulling FDIs in the region include the Democratic Republic of Congo which raked in $2 billion annually, Zambia – $1,8 billion, Mozambique – $6 billion and South Africa – $8 billion.

“On this basis we as a country are operating below our capacity and potential. There is ability in the future to increase the levels once we deal with issues of policy, doing business (environment) and perception,’ said Mr Mbaiwa.

He said issues to do with competitiveness and doing business reports that are published by international financiers give indications to investors that Zimbabwe is a difficult place to do business.

RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya on Monday highlighted the importance of consistency especially on indigenisation. He said the way the country communicates its policies will contribute to more investment into the country if there is policy consistency.

Mr Mbaiwa highlighted the need to harmonise and streamline legal frameworks on investment and make it mandatory for foreign investors to get licenses from ZIA before investing in the country.

He said that legislation regulating on investment is “not talking to each other” from the various enabling statutes.

The process of the One-Stop-Shop has not been successful as the legislation is not coordinated.

“While we said we want to commit to do licences in five working days, investors still have to get different types of permits from other agencies which have their own processes that are guided by their own legislation and this may take time for investors,” said Mr Mubaiwa.

“We have studied other countries which have omnibus legislation which puts together all the institutions and gives them time-frames for dealing with investment licences and permits. We have recommended through our parent Minister (of Industry),” he said.

ZIA also want an amendment to the ZIA Act for compulsory registration of all foreign investments. Currently there is no legal requirement for a foreign investor to get an investment licence from ZIA.

“This will enable us to track all investment into the country and we will be able to facilitate and monitor,” said Mr Mbaiwa.