World Bank  to ED: Speed up ease of doing business reforms

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By Alois Vinga

GLOBAL multilateral lender the World Bank’s (WB) has called on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to hasten economic reforms.

WB technical expert, Sveltlana Bagaudinova said if the reforms are expedited this could help in attracting “foreign direct investment.”

Bagaudinova told business, on Monday that while the willingness is apparent the pace has been painstakingly slow.

“Zimbabwe has been in the direction to improve business climate but so far emphasis has been on short term and administrative reforms.

“It will be important to finalise adopt key laws such as the Companies Act and also invest in reforming infrastructure,” she said.

The global bank expert said that the country needs to invest in electronic business registration systems, property transfers and place emphasis on adopting information and technology based procedures.

“We do see a consistent effort to improve but the reforms need to go wider and deeper,” Bagaudinova said.

WB Zimbabwe acting country manager, Fadzai Mukonoweshuro noted that the country still has room for improvement, though it has been slow.

“The doing business reforms are important because there is a direct correlation between ease of doing business and attracting foreign direct investment. Foreign investors consider how a country treats its local investors,” she said.

Zimbabwe has moved to overhaul the Companies Act with a draft bill now before Parliament after extensive consultations among stakeholders. However, this missed the WB’s data collection timetable.

The Insolvency Bill which will permit an expeditious turnaround of distressed companies and quick liquidation of unsalvageable entities thus preserving shareholder value and interest has been gazetted. However, this has since been withdrawn in order to make sure its aligned with the amended Companies Act.

On the other hand, the Manpower Act Amendment Bill, aimed at centralising the collection of manpower development levies and streamline payments under the paying taxes indicator also failed to meet the WB deadline as did the Shop Licenses Amendment Bill.