via ZIA setting e-platform | The Herald August 7, 2014
The Zimbabwe Investment Authority is working on an online investor registration and approval system to further streamline and expedite the process of approving projects. Chief executive Mr Richard Mbaiwa said in an interview that ZIA was one of the flagship institutions identified under an e-Government project.
He said the Office of President and Cabinet was coordinating the project.
Mr Mbaiwa said the online registration would enable prospective investors to apply and get their proposed investment approved instantly online.
Zia had earlier streamlined investment approval period from over 40 days to about five working days.
This was after transforming ZIA into one stop shop investment centre, with the period now expected to further come down.
“At present, we are working on having computer based registration and approval. We are working on that as part of an e-Government project,” he said.
He said the new system will further reduce the turnaround period.
Zimbabwe has for long been rated poorly on the World Bank doing business rankings due among other factors to a tedious investment approval process.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Investment, Zimbabwe managed to attract a paltry $400 million in 2013 when others in the region, including South Africa and Mozambique, drew in billions of dollars.
The UNCTAD report showed that South Africa received the highest FDI in Sadc at $8,1 billion out of the $13,1 billion that flowed into Sadc.
It was followed by Mozambique with $5,9 billion while the Southern Africa nation’s northern neighbour Zambia received $1,8 billion in FDI last year.
Other flagship institutions under the e-project included liquor licensing board, mines ministry and Chitungwiza Hospital.
“We are one of the flagship organisations or institutions identified by Government, which include company registration, Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Liquor Licensing board and Chitungwiza Hospital,” said ZIA public project manager Nixon Kanyemba.
He pointed out that the e-platform would also enable foreign investors to register their investments and get approvals online while in their countries.
Mr Kanyemba said the system should be operational end of September.
He said setting up of the system was almost done with only a few loose ends remaining.
He added that the system would do away with most of manual processes to help ensure investment approval is completed within hours.
However, CEO Mbaiwa said the country needed to look at other factors militating against the country’s potential to attract foreign direct investment.
Areas needing attention included issues around getting construction permits, ease of getting credit, trading across borders and dispute resolution most of which do not fall under the purview of the investment authority.