By Dumisani Nyoni
Bulawayo, February 20, 2016 – VICE PRESIDENT Phelekezela Mphoko on Friday conceded correct policies were the only way to go in efforts to revive Zimbabwe’s economy currently in the intensive care unit.
Zimbabwe introduced a number of policies such as the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act which compels foreign firms to cede at least 51 percent shareholding to locals as part of measures to uplift previously marginalised blacks.
However, according to the experts, the law is unattractive to foreign direct investment (FDI) and anti-development.
For instance, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe last year revealed that in 2015 Zimbabwe received FDI estimated levels of $591 million compared to South Africa, Zambia and Botswana who registered FDI of $6 billion, $2 billion and $1.8 billion respectively.
In a staff appraisal released in May last year, following the first review under the Staff-Monitored Programme (SMP), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revealed that the country needed transparent and attractive policies to avoid rent seeking behaviour in industry.
In a speech read on his behalf by Industry and Commerce deputy minister Chiratidzo Mabuwa at the official opening of the Chicken Inn drive-through in Bulawayo, Mphoko also said right policies were needed for the revival of the economy.
The occasion saw Simbisa Brands in Zimbabwe opening their new and first Chicken Inn Drive Through at the Trade Fair in Bulawayo.
“Nowadays, due to the economic downturn, we hear a lot about business closing down. Therefore, when a company like what Simbisa Brands are doing, it is a good sign that with the right policies and an inclusive approach by government and the private sector, the Zimbabwean economy can and will be revived,” he added.
Mphoko challenged other companies—big, medium and small—to positively respond to the government’s call for public private initiatives, especially with state enterprises.
He said the government has been seized with improving the ease of doing business in order to make it easy for new companies to invest in Zimbabwe, while existing companies can expand like Simbisa Brands.
He said the private sector should come on board and work with government to alleviate the serious effects of drought by taking their social responsibilities seriously.
He said the drought that has slowed down the government’s thrust towards economic recovery through ZimAsset has to be tackled inclusively by all stakeholders that include government, the private sector and the United Nations agencies in the country.
“It is therefore gratifying when companies like Simbisa are forging ahead and expanding their operations. I have been working with the business community of Bulawayo to craft strategies of resuscitating businesses in Bulawayo so that Bulawayo can become the business hub of Zimbabwe once again,” he said.