THE Zimbabwe Investment Development Bill (Zida), currently in its second reading stage in the National Assembly, will soften up on foreign investors and treat them in the same way that Zimbabwean investors are treated, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told Parliament on Tuesday.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
He was presenting the Bill on behalf of Industry and Commerce minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu. He told MPs that when the Zida law is passed it will also allow foreign investors to employ foreigners of their choice, a departure from the previous indigenisation regulations which emphasised on employment of locals by investors.
Some of the advantages of the Bill are that it will seek to establish a one-stop shop or single interface for investors, and establish an agency with corporate status whose primary function will be to facilitate entry and implementation of investment projects and coordinate investment programmes and strategies.
“The Bill (clause 11) will provide for that investors are free to invest in any sector, save for those that are reserved for locals, and foreign investors (clause 12 and 13) from all countries will be treated in the same way as local investors,” Ziyambi said.
“The Bill will permit investors to employ key personnel of their choice (clause 14) and the personnel can be foreigners,” he said.
The reserved sectors include agriculture, milk processing, bakeries, retail and wholesale, barbershops, hairdressing and salons, employment agencies, estate agencies, transport and grain milling, among others.
Ziyambi said the one-stop investment centre will have representatives of entities that play a role in the licensing, establishment and operationalisation of investments such as the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, the Environmental Management Agency, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the National Social Security Authority, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and the State Enterprises Regulatory Authority and other specialised investment units and relevant line ministries.
The Bill also proposes that the property of investors should not be expropriated.
“Where it is expropriated for a public purpose, the expropriation should be done in accordance with the law in a non-discriminatory manner and a payment of effective compensation in a freely cover title currency. All laws, regulations and policies that affect investors should be made public promptly,” Ziyambi said.
Investors (clause 20) will also be compelled by the law to desist from practising environmentally unfriendly practices. They will be compelled to maintain independent accounts and ensure that services and products comply with national and international standards and to respect the country’s cultural heritage and local customs.