LACK of political will and bureaucratic procedures are contributing towards the difficult business environment prevailing in the country and the poor world rankings, a study has shown.
In June, the ministry of industry commissioned some players in the private sector to carry out two studies on imports as well as the ease and cost of doing business in Zimbabwe after it fell to 170 out of 189 in the World Bank ratings.
Presenting the findings on Friday, committee chairperson on ease of doing business, Maureen Chitewe said the country was failing to create a conducive business environment as evidenced by lack of information to the public, inconsistency, bureaucratic procedures and poor systems.
She said ‘severely’ antiquated work processes that were ‘completely’ out of sync with global trends in technology were also an inhibiting factor.
“The doing business environment in Zimbabwe is characterised by regulatory systems and institutions which makes it extremely difficult to attract foreign investors,” she said.
“And also make it very difficult for local investors to invest meaningfully in their own country such that the only viable options remaining to local investors are trading in imported and used goods.”
Chitewe, who is a private legal practitioner, said the impression given was that the country was not capable of creating and implementing favourable reforms for an improved business environment.
“Investors have a negative perception of who we are,” she said.
The committee recommended streamlining of procedures, use of online platforms to increase efficiency and turnaround in doing business procedures.
It also recommended use of one-stop-systems to reduce red tape and enactment of sound laws to facilitate ease of access to credit and the securing of borrowings.
Chitewe said there was need to enhance the justice delivery system through setting up of specialised courts such as commercial courts.
“Political will is critical…… in short it’s time to roll our sleeves, there is a lot of work to be done,” she said.
Acting chairperson of the advisory committee on imports, Masimba Marangwanda said there was need to reduce dependency on imports and capacitate local industry, adding that the country could save up to $2 billion through import-substitution.Advertisement
Marangwanda complained about rampant smuggling and businesses evading paying taxes.
“With government’s assistance, we need to look at how we can reduce smuggling as it is affecting and hurting businesses in the long-term,” he said.
Industry minister, Mike Bimha said the reports would be circulated to relevant ministries and a paper with recommendations presented to the Cabinet.
He said government had already made use of the preliminary report on imports in the mid-term fiscal review.
“We made use of that preliminary report and some of the findings from that report have already found their way into the presentation that Minister Chinamasa (Patrick) did.
“It’s an indication that we have moved swiftly in taking on board some of the recommendations that came from that report,” he said.