A policy is a declaration of an intention. For every country to have a direction there is need for clarity on policy and governance issues.
No investor is willing to part or partner with anyone without clarity on policy matters. One of the weakest points that the Zimbabwean Government has is policy clarification. There is no policy consistency.
For example President Mugabe made an announcement at heroes’ acre, he made it clear that Zimbabwe does not need any help from the west yet at the same time Patrick Chinamasa the current Minister of Finance was in London to beg for funds and aid.
How do you draw the line on the current impasse?
Policy gives the direction of were the country is going and at the same time, you use policies to assess or evaluate the performance of an institution. We have a serious challenge as a country in terms of policy issues, we don’t have a clear framework. Currently the environment is not conducive for investment.
Ministers from the same Government issued conflicting statements regarding the indigenisation law and the outside world was watching. How do we do business when we don’t have a clear position regarding investments and other issues. Zhuwao and Chinamasa clashed regarding empowerment laws and investors were not sure what was happening and these are some of the issues that affect our beloved nation.
We cannot ask foreign companies to cede 51% of their hard working earnings and there are a lot of questions surrounding the 51% issue because you want to partner someone without anything and you just bring your hands yet someone bought machinery for the company and buildings and you simply come and grab what is there, that is not empowerment.
At least 30% in the form of capital is better and we reserve at least 10% for community development such as infrastructure development, assisting orphans and building hospitals, clinics etc. this issue of grabbing foreign companies in the name of empowerment is ill-advised and ill-timed at the time when the country is need of Foreign Direct Investment and aid. If you look at our situation today it is because of some of the bad governance on the part of our Government.
According to Muzamhindo as a Development analyst the Government of Zimbabwe must re-visit the empowerment Law and revise the thresholds downwards to 28-30% ownership versus 70% for the foreigners, in other words locals should cheap in with 30% in the form of capital injection and machinery or employment issues. Foreigners must have a certain percentage of employing locals eg 30% in every department in order to improve the formal sector.
GOVERNMENT MUST SET UP A THINK TANK
Most of the Government ministers we have in the cabinet have no ideas on policy matters since they are political appointees it is advisable that before policies are implemented there is need for a local think to go through them first even at the same time think tanks should be responsible for crafting policies that bring investments in the country.
Ministers must stop uttering destructive political statements because it will come and haunt the nation and affect ordinary Zimbabweans. For example how do we expect to lure investors when ministers from the same government issuing conflicting statements and insulting each other in public, and who will be safe in such a country?
RESPECT PROPERTY RIGHT
The Zimbabwean Government must respect property rights as enshrined in our new constitution. What investors want before they put meaningful investment they want assurance and safety of their properties before they bring their money.
Ministers must stop issuing threats to local farmers who contradicted with the ruling party s stance on governance matters or anyone who differs with their political ideologies. We expect political leadership in this country to be mature when dealing with property issues. They must respect investor’s properties.
The recent announcements by Dr Mombeshora the minister of lands that Government has opened up for those who are willing to partner with white farmers for agro based products and farming. My question as a development analyst is that how then do you make announcements, were is that written?
Recently the same minister was telling farmers to stop partnering with white farmers and he even told a gathering that those farmers found doing that will risk losing their farms. So who in his mind will bring capital when there is no consistency on policy matters. There must be a think tank responsible for that and at the same time there must be a bill or an act of parliament to protect investors.
Imagine someone pouring 500 million in agro based company and tomorrow morning you are told that you do not own anything and that will be a risk. There is need to be clarity. The way Zimbabwean Government conducted their land invasions was ill timed.
In fact there is no production or Agriculture to talk about in Zimbabwe because most of these farmers they are lying idle and most people have resorted to hunting yet in the past 60% of the GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT came from Agriculture. What has gone wrong?
Zimbabwe must conduct a serious LAND AUDIT and despite their social standing or position in society everyone who has more than one farm should hand over the other ones to the state. Land should be set aside for commercial purpose.
It’s an embarrassment on our part that Zimbabwean Government is busy importing grain from Zambia from the same farmers whom they chased away. The idea of giving land was good but the way it was done totally bad. This land distribution programme should start afresh and give land to those who deserve it. Our food security position is not good and Zimbabwe will risk going back to SADC AGENDA.
FOREIGN POLICY AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
We need to come up with a clear foreign policy that will attract investors. Our image as a country is not good honestly who will do business with Zimbabwe when police and other Law enforce agents are busy beating innocent civilians and you expect foreign aid? I don’t think so. As a development analyst I think it’s high time the Government must act careful in terms of the way they handle citizens of this country.
We need also to come up with a clear documentation on how we do business with foreigners and how they protect their assets as well. Eg Chinese they don’t do banking with local institutions, they siphon everything, they bring their own materials, labour and everything so that means as a country we have actually lost billions of dollars to these Chinese which stands clear that there is someone benefitting from this sheganisms.
This move was ill timed and ill advised. I have several question as an analyst regarding this import ban issue. Someone is standing to benefit. Who owns those local companies? I think all citizens have a right to buy from wherever he/she wants. Who owns those companies?
Informal sector is standing at 96% and most of these people had resorted to cross border trading and at the same time the Government without proper consultations they have already put import restrictions so how do they expect ordinary people to make a living? Something has gone wrong somewhere? Instead of apologising to the nation or resort to proper consultations they issue radical political statements that are so damaging.
ALIGNMENT OF LAWS
There are more than 400 Laws which needs to be aligned to the new constitution. How do we attract investments when we do not respect on own country laws? For example the current impasse between Local Government Minister and the mayor of Harare is badly timed. Investors have tactfully employed the wait and see approach.
The local Government bill is there to target individuals and have no national interest. Politicians, Government officials, MPS, Senators, Councillors, parastatal bosses must respect the rule of Law despite political affiliations.
ADVISE TO THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE
It is my humble submission to the Government of Zimbabwe that you need to sit down and come up with a clear road map for this country so that it will have a sustainable development. Currently the country is on auto movement we do not even know which the direction this country is going.
Government must cut its expenditure right now the co-Vice President of Zimbabwe is staying in a five star hotel when majority of its citizens are suffering, such a greedy and unexpected move will not benefit the country in any way.
We have more than 60 000 ghost workers on the pay roll in the name of youth officers, and those people must be removed. We don’t even need youth officers in this country particularly when the unemployment rate has reached unprecedented levels.