THE Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA)’s One Stop Shop Investment Centre (OSSIC) will be automated in six months time in a bid to increase efficiency on investors’ application processing and communication with other government departments, the Financial Gazette’s Companies & Markets (C&M) has learnt.
OSSIC will bring under one roof a number of key institutions that include the Deeds Office, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Mines, power utility ZESA, Environmental Management Authority, local government and the immigration department, to expedite the processes required for an investor to set up shop in Zimbabwe.
This was revealed by ZIA’s chairman, Nigel Chanakira (pictured), who said: “The One Stop Shop Investment Centre will be automated and operational by June 2016.”
In 2010, Zimbabwe set up a one stop shop at ZIA to improve the speed at which investments are handled.
However, the system is not fully operational as government departments have only seconded officers to OSSIC who do not have decision making powers to issue licences, but only to facilitate the process.
ZIA, a body that approves foreign investments in the country, has since the beginning of last year approved projects worth more than US$3,2 billion.
Compared to neighbouring countries, Zimbabwe has been faring badly in attracting foreign direct investments (FDI).
Last year, Zimbabwe recorded US$545 million in FDI which was a 26 percent increase from the US$400 million recorded in 2013 and 2012.
The figure recorded in 2015 also translates to 0,04 percent of global FDI flows which amounted to US$1,228 trillion.
Government’s controversial indigenisation policy and its failure to respect property rights, shortage of energy and lack of transparency have all dealt a body blow to government’s desperate attempt to lure offshore capital required to revive the country’s sick and struggling economy.
The real and perceived high country risk and absence of a clear and cohesive FDI policy have also affected FDI inflows into the country.
“Every country in the world is competing for FDI. As such there is need for Zimbabwe to craft a clear and cohesive FDI policy with articulated commitment to sustainability,” said Chanakira.
“All top FDI recipient countries invest in this program. Promoting FDI is a process not an event and this process encompasses a number of disciplined activities that boost and build up our image and position us in the minds of investment decision makers,” he said.
Last year, ZIA recorded US$3,2 billion worth of investment applications and only half the amount was expected to be implemented by December 2015.
C&M also understands that ZIA will be appointed the country’s indigenisation policy implementation agency, charged with the mandate to convey the right image for Zimbabwe.
ZIA is also seized with improving the ease-of-doing-business environment in the country.
Zimbabwe is one of the countries with poor investment policies and in which investors have significant difficulties doing business.
The country has been ranked poorly on the World Bank’s Doing Business Index, but has worked hard to slightly improve the country’s rating to court investment.
The latest World Bank’s 2015 report ranks Zimbabwe at 155 out of 189 countries from the previous ranking at 171.
Neighbouring countries such as Zambia, South Africa, and Mozambique are ranked 97, 73 and 133 respectively while Botswana is at number 72.
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