HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsThe ZimAsset pipedream

The ZimAsset pipedream

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President Robert Mugabe is truly an inveterate creator of myths which continue to be imbibed without question by the numerous educated underlings who surround him.

Vince Musewe

I don’t know how many times I must write about ZimAsset and explain why it is a pipedream manufactured by Zanu PF to create false hope.

I note, with regret, that even the new VP’s are jumping on the ZimAsset band wagona. I would have expected them to pause and think deeper on what the real issues are. But it seems every new minister is itching to say something even where this exposes their ignorance.

That is the problem with Zanu PF, they do not challenge Mugabe’s thinking and if he says they must promote ZimAsset, they will all sing like parrots as they did with the issue of sanctions. He is truly an inveterate creator of myths which continue to be imbibed without question by the numerous seemingly educated underlings who surround him.

As a country, our problems are not the lack of investment opportunities or lack of ideas or skills. Our problems are simply aboutmismanagement and bad leadership.

In my opinion, our sole priority right now should be to make Zimbabwe an attractive investment destination. We have to focus on changing the perceptions about Zimbabwe out there and that will only happen when we change how we do things and the language we use.

We simply cannot have a President whose main hobby is to continually reprimand the West while changing the rules, as he recently did at congress, so that he can stay in power. That does not create confidence especially with regards to accountability and the respect of the constitution.

Zimbabwe’s public relations suck and I doubt if this government has any plans whatsoever to mend the image of Zimbabwe that is damaged each time the President or some of his exuberant minions open their mouths. I hope that now that he is getting on in years, he will talk less so that we can begin to rebuild the image of this country.
I would also advise the new ministers to shut up especially on indigenisation where there remains much doubt, lack of clarity and consistency.

The recent remarks on indigenization by the new minister really demonstrated the idiocy around what is an important issue especially for outsiders who are interested investing in Zimbabwe.

For me, indigenisation remains a Zanu PF campaign tool that is not urgent. In fact we would be better off scrapping this law all together because it has done more harm than good. There are better ways to encourage foreign investors to partner with locals of their choice.

In my opinion, we need to focus on economic sectors that require little to get off the ground first, and as the momentum gathers we can then focus on those that have a time lag. More important, we must change the rules of engagement with foreign investors because our laws and red tape continue to inhibit investment.

One thing that this government fails to realise is that Zimbabwe has to compete with the region for investment dollars. Zimbabwe is just another country in Africa and does not necessarily attract special considerations from foreign investors. This means we must do all we can to get them to invest here.

We also need to address the agriculture disaster, another Zanu PF election campaign hoax that has done more harm than good. Investors will never feel secure unless we compensate farmers for the property we stole.

They will not be attracted back to a sector that is largely unproductive and remains disorganised without proper legal protection of ownership. To be honest, I do not know what the minister of agriculture is still doing behind his desk given his continuous failures.

Tourism is another sector that can kick off quite easily by us making it easy for people to visit Zimbabwe. The current tourism minister has shown too much exuberance without concrete results.

I spoke to an investor from Asia who complained why it has to take two weeks to get a visa to visit Zimbabwe, especially if it’s on business? Tourists become future investors especially when they have a good time visiting the country and yes, they are doing us a huge favour when they come here and the sooner we appreciate that the better.

The energy sector is another sector we can quickly attract investment because domestic demand is higher than supply. This sector is getting bogged down because we change ministers too often and there is no continuity in policy. When each minister comes, they have their own agenda and favours to meet and this delays projects and causes massive waste and corruption. The exclusive involvement of the Chinese in this sector is also not healthy. Investors must compete and offer us the best solutions.

The mining sector is also an area we must look at and purge corruption and too much state involvement through ZMDC, an organisation that has a pretty bad integrity. Zimbabwe continues to lose out on massive revenues through illicit deals. That must change. Small scale mining has huge potential, but is disorganised, corrupt, dangerous and causing serious environmental degradation. We need to address this.

In my view these four sectors can get our economy back on track if we focus on plugging revenue leakages, improve governance, deal with corruption and red tape and provide incentives for foreign investors to come in.

A reshuffle of ministers does not change the facts.We need a fresh thinking within Zanu PF and it appears that is not about to happen. Zanu PF continues to waste our time and resources on policies that will clearly not work but I really don’t expect much from a liberation struggle political organisation that has dismally failed to govern.

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