Revisit of indig law welcome

Indications by the economic planning minister Simon Khaya Moyo that government is considering making further amendments to the indigenisation law must be hailed - provided they come with the necessary political will.

Paul Bogaert

Paul Bogaert

Khaya Moyo mentioned the review while addressing a National Defence College course last week. Particularly heartening is the fact that he acknowledged that government was anxious to attract investment, hence the decision to revise the indigenisation law. It has been a long wait for the government to come to its senses regarding the undesirability of the law.

Economists, diplomats and investors have for years been calling on the Zanu (PF) establishment to re-consider the legislation that compels foreign business to surrender majority shareholding to locals. Unfortunately, government was not ready to give that advice an ear.

Clearly, it was more concerned with gaining political mileage through populist policies at the expense of truly reviving the economy for the benefit of all.

It is clear that the law did more damage than good. The economy has continued on a downward spiral as investors felt threatened by the law, which did not guarantee the security of their money and other investments. This added to Zimbabwe’s already battered image as an investment destination.

Even before the promulgation of the empowerment law, investors were wary about the safety of their investments following the land grabs and disrespect for the law that started in 2000, company seizures and the general political instability.

Now that government is showing basic sense at last, we hope it will move with speed to amend the law to make it acceptable – especially to foreign investors. Ideally, we would have preferred that the whole law be repealed to send a clear message to those wishing to do business in Zimbabwe that all would be well with their investments.  If the law is retained, the amendments must make it abundantly clear that there will not be any threats in the future.

Of course, reformation must not be limited to the indigenisation law for meaningful investment to take place. It must include a whole range of other areas that include elections, security of property, human rights and the media. There is also need to revisit matters relating to bureaucracy when a company applies for a business licence.

The processes must be speeded up to match regional and international standards. In addition, tighter systems must be put in place to curb corruption and inefficiency. Without these, it will take Zimbabwe a very long time before investors can start considering our country  as an attractive investment destination.

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga

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