Parly sits on Companies Bill, law seeks ease of doing business

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By Alois Vinga

PARLIAMENT has failed to enact the Companies and Other Entities Bill into law for almost a year now in a development which continues hamper the ease of doing business in the country.

The Bill was gazetted March 2018 under General Notice 151/2018.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa is keen to see the return of foreign direct investment in the country following years of economic mismanagement and tough policies by his predecessor.

It has emerged that the country’s restrictive laws were unnecessarily blocking much-needed foreign investment into the troubled country.

Government has followed this up with key legal reforms such as the abandonment of the 51:49 percent local-foreign ownership of foreign firms operating in Zimbabwe.

In the same spirit, government has moved to amend the Companies Act which was blamed for putting up barriers in terms of time one needs to take to fully register a business in the country.

The Bill seeks to provide for the issuance of non-par-value shares rather than shares with a fixed value, together with provisions for the valuation of no-par-value shares.

It also seeks introduction on an electronic registry for the incorporation and registration of domestic and foreign companies, private business corporations as well as the substitution of criminal penalties by civil ones wherever possible, among other changes.

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said at the inception of the Mnangagwa administration 2017 that the necessary amendments were among the first 100 day targets of the new government.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president, Sifelani Jabangwe admitted the country has not been fast enough to improve the smooth flow of business.

“The current Companies Act is archaic and cannot address the modern trends of doing business,” he told NewZim Business.

“Most investors have also raised concern over the time consuming and cumbersome processes enshrined in the Act which still has a largely pre-independence tone and the continued delay to promulgate the bill further worsens our situation.”