Zimbabwe’s investment authorities say they are working on a national investment charter to define the quality, nature and character of investment the country is looking for and to serve as a guide for potential investors.
Economic Planning and Investment Promotion minister Tapiwa Mashakada also said government was hurrying a Bill to support the recently launched one-stop shop investment centre to harmonise investment legislation and elevate the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) as the country’s supreme investment body.
“It (investment charter) will codify investment so that it meets certain key expectations for Zimbabweans. The charter will be an amalgamation of principles that will guide investors,” Mashakada said.
He said the charter would tackle the issue of transparency in the extractive industry as well as corporate social responsibility.
“Investors should work, develop and empower their communities,” he said.
He projected the country would receive about $500 000 in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the next 12 months as a result of the one-stop investment centre launched last week.
He said the one-stop shop investment centre had re-profiled the country as an attractive investment destination.
The one-stop shop investment shop, housed under ZIA, has brought key regulatory authorities under one roof, namely ZIA, the registrar of companies, the Deeds Office, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Mines ministry, Environmental Management Agency, Immigration Control Department, local government and Zesa, among others.
“Investment has to be attracted and we hope investors will come,” Mashakada said. According to the 2009 United Nations Development Programme report, Zimbabwe received $60 million in FDI during the year.
Mashakada said the Investment Bill, which seeks to provide legal backing to the one-stop shop investment centre, was expected to go through Cabinet in the first quarter next year.
He said investment administration was currently split among various government departments and agencies such as ZIA the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and others.Every one of these bodies, he said, claims the right to deal with investment promotion in its jurisdiction.
“The first port of call for investment should be ZIA,” Mashakada said.
“We also want, through the legislation, to make the registration of investment licences compulsory.”
He said the legislation would include provisions related to the protection of investors and fair representation in the case of a commercial dispute. Mashakada said the legislation would reintroduce incentives abolished when the Zimbabwe Investment Centre and Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) merged into ZIA in 2006.
“They repealed the EPZA Act that had incentives for investors; they threw away the baby with the bath water,” Mashakada said.
“We will reconstruct these incentives such as tax holidays and tax breaks for investors who export 100% of what they produce. Those have to be reinstated.”