The much-anticipated opening of the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) one-stop shop expected to ease the hassles of starting a business in the country could start on the back-foot after the authority reported that Treasury had channelled inadequate funds for the historic project.
Richard Mbaiwa, ZIA CEO on Wednesday told a Parliamentary Committee on Budget Finance and Economic Development that money allocated to ZIA by the Treasury would hamstring operations of the investment body.
Mbaiwa said ZIA only received $233 000 out of a $2,3 million required to upgrade equipment and acquire new vehicles for the smooth operation of the investment centre.
The one-stop shop was initially scheduled by former Economic Planning and Investment Promotion minister Elton Mangoma to open by mid-year.
ZIA says the investment centre is set to be opened on December 13 after the rebranding exercise. The transformation comes following Zimbabwe’s appalling ratings in attracting new investors.
“Our initial budget was $2,3 million to cover everything.
$1,7 million was for operational capital on our budget. We received $233 000, which represents 13% of operational capital. Out of the $733 000 working capital that we budgeted we received nothing,” said Mbaiwa.
“This budget was for us to reach December 2011 but with that I don’t think we will be able to operate, although the launching of onestop operational centre will go ahead.”
The International Finance Corporation, a private sector lending arm of the World Bank reported that it takes over 60 days to start business in Zimbabwe. But the new-look ZIA is aiming to reduce the bureaucratic inertia to five days.
“They are using computers that are not updated that were used way back before the institution was transformed. This means they are using outdated software, they are immobile, they need vehicles, generators and among other things needed to operate efficiently,” Mbaiwa said.
But Economic Planning and Investment Promotion permanent secretary Desire Sibanda, who also appeared before the same committee, said the launch would proceed as planned.