Government is committed to making the country conducive for Foreign Direct Investment contrary to claims that the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act thwarts those efforts, Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Christopher Mushowe he said.
He made the remarks on Monday when he met a Norwegian Investment Fund (Norfund) delegation that is in the country to seek clarification on the indigenisation policy and the country’s perspective on foreign investment.The Norfund team focuses on investment in the establishment and development of profitable and sustainable enterprises in developing countries.“The Zimbabwean Government, through the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Legislation seeks to create a friendly and conducive environment for potential investors,” said Minister Mushowe.“Zimbabwe welcomes Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country and there are vast investment opportunities across all sectors of the economy. There is room for improvement; with regards to the Indigenisation Act to allow best practices to prevail.”He said Government respects property rights as enshrined in the country’s Constitution to the extent that no citizen will be allowed to just grab private property.The Act will be implemented transparently and investors will be allowed to choose indigenous Zimbabweans they want to partner, Minister Mushowe said.
He said at the top of Government’s priority in implementing the Indigenisation Act was to do away with bureaucracy.He said the process would be smoothened so that investors are able to immediately operate.Speaking to The Herald after meeting the delegation, Minister Mushowe urged Government officials to speak with one voice on the implementation of the Act than making different pronouncements that were not in the Act.He said making contradictory statements some of which were not enshrined in the Act confused investors.The minister said while some people have called for amendments to the Act, the ministry did not have such plans at the moment but would be willing to do so if proper channels are used to bring up the issues.“What is in the Act should guide us and not what we may think,” he said.“We want everyone to stick to the tenets of the Act and not what we think. I don’t speak outside the Act. If anybody thinks that there are flaws in the Act then let them bring it up through proper channels. The Act is not water tight to the extent that we can’t change some things because we may need to fill some gaps,” he said.Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa are on record saying Government would endeavour to make the Indigenisation Act investor-friendly.The delegation which comprised of Ambassador Bard Hopland, the chairperson, the CEO and the board of directors for the Norfund indicated that they had similar indigenisation polices in their country.Norfund is an equity company which contributes to the development of local businesses, jobs and economic growth with the aim of reducing poverty.It invests in Eastern and Southern Africa and selected countries in South and South East Asia and Central America.