THE two-day Zimbabwe Mining Investment Conference was timely and, hence, could not have come at a better time.
While the mining indaba in the capital Harare will be hailed as a success by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime, it does not need a rocket scientist to understand that investors will be cautious about their investments at the same time.
They would definitely wait for Mnangagwa to clearly enunciate the ease-of-doing business policies, which remain hazy at the moment.
In fact, some investors spoke to that. Mnangagwa has focused mainly on the right rhetoric short of action, yet the world is aiming for deliverables not poisoned messages.
A good example is lack of mojo by Mnangagwa to deal with corruption — real or perceived. Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu just last week desecrated Parliament by refusing to answer questions from the Temba Mliswa-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee of Mines.
What Mpofu fails to understand is that Mliswa is simply the messenger, it is Zimbabweans who are demanding answers to the alleged diamond looting in Chiadzwa. We fail to understand how Mnangagwa could remain stone quiet at this.
During the two-day conference that took place on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, it became clear that it is an undeniable fact that mining opportunities abound in Zimbabwe, but there are some sticky points or areas of concern that need to be sorted out in this market.
Key among these are the ambiguity of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, which is still to be realigned to reflect pronouncements made in the 2018 National Budget, critical foreign currency shortages and government’s snail pace in implementing reforms.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa in early December 2017 indicated that government had agreed to limit this disastrous law to only diamonds and platinum.
Many were thrilled with the development, but it is anyone’s guess if this would take effect on April 1, because it has turned out that enquiries by investors are still being informed that the law was still very much around.
It boggles the mind why those changes are slow in coming because this affects the country’s investment climate. Investors also want to know if they would be allowed to move their money out of the country, given the stringent instruments barring anyone to transfer foreign currency to other markets.
Although Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya promised that they would ensure that investors would get their money, the fact that nothing of that sort is happening impinges on new investment into the country. This does not inspire any confidence at all.
Zimbabweans hoped that ED@100 days would yield many positives to attract more investment according to his mantra but it looks like it’s all hubris.
The citizens have been fooled by the previous Robert Mugabe system and they cannot wait any longer — they want deliverables less of unhelpful rhetoric!