MUTARE — A taskforce set up by government to speed up the transformation of the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) into a One Stop Shop Investment Centre (OSS) has made its recommendations which are now being implemented.
The OSS concept which is meant to attract both local and foreign investment into the country has not been operational six years after it was launched.
The delays have been a result of a myriad of technical challenges that are now being thrashed out by government.
President Robert Mugabe had, in August last year, ordered all those responsible for the initiative to ensure that it is implemented as soon as possible.
Pursuant to the directive, the Ministry of Macro-Eco Planning had proceeded to constitute a taskforce to get the job done.
Headed by the principal director responsible for investment promotion in the ministry and comprising of the ministry and ZIA officials, the taskforce produced a report, which proffered recommendations on how ZIA could be transformed into an OSS and make it more visible and relevant to the turnaround of the country’s economy.
Desire Sibanda, the permanent secretary in the ministry told the Financial Gazette this week that they were now moving to implement the recommendations, although he could not give a timeframe.
A consultancy firm, Twenty-Third Century Systems, has been engaged to come up with specific user requirements for the project.
The ministry has been working on amending the ZIA Act, which is now ready for submission to Cabinet.
ZIA is hopeful that the OSS would come on stream by June this year.
Once the project has been completed, it will significantly reduce the turnaround time for investment applications.
It is currently taking at least 49 days for a potential investor to get a position regarding an application for an investment licence.
The process to be followed by investors is also cumbersome, as it involves many agencies.
A potential investor would have to visit the Registrar of Companies for company incorporation; the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority for tax registration; the Department of Immigration for work or residence permits; the Environmental Management Agency for environmental impact assessments and local authorities for land or building issues, among others.
Under OSS, all these institutions will be found under one roof with ZIA playing a central role.
The ministry is also establishing representation in foreign direct investment source markets starting with South Africa, China, India, United Kingdom and the United States through Zimbabwean embassies abroad and also through appointing investment ambassadors.
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