Govt’s thrust on eco­nomic re­vival wel­come

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News -

FOR a long time Zim­babwe’s econ­omy has been stran­gled by lack of ac­cess to fi­nance among a string of hur­dles that have re­sulted in sup­pressed pro­duc­tion in key sec­tors. This ne­ces­si­tates ur­gent re­form pro­cesses to open new in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties. Trends across the globe have shown that it takes a leg­isla­tive push to cre­ate a favourable in­vest­ment at­mos­phere. Hence Zim­babwe has em­barked on a busi­ness cli­mate re­form drive aimed at un­lock­ing more eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties.

We feel Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe’s ad­dress on Thurs­day, where he set the agenda for the Fourth Ses­sion of the Eighth Par­lia­ment in Harare, but­tresses this thrust as it sets the tone for tack­ling the in­her­ent bar­ri­ers to growth.

The high­lights of the ad­dress show that the Govern­ment is in­deed aware of the re­al­i­ties that plague our econ­omy and is fo­cused on re­vers­ing eco­nomic stag­na­tion, which can­not be fea­si­ble out­side ac­cess to fi­nance.

In this re­gard the Pres­i­dent re­vealed that en­trepreneurs with­out im­mov­able prop­erty like houses will soon be able to ac­cess loans from fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions us­ing ve­hi­cles, live­stock and fur­ni­ture as col­lat­eral se­cu­rity un­der the pro­posed Mov­able Prop­erty Se­cu­rity In­ter­est Bill. We feel the pass­ing of this Bill into law would im­mensely ben­e­fit thou­sands of in­dige­nous farmers and small to medium en­ter­prises that seem to hold the keys to this coun­try’s econ­omy.

“This Ses­sion of Par­lia­ment will also con­sider the Mov­able Prop­erty Se­cu­rity In­ter­est Bill, which seeks to in­crease ac­cess to credit for the ma­jor­ity of our emerg­ing en­trepreneurs.

“A col­lat­eral reg­istry will be es­tab­lished to fa­cil­i­tate the use of mov­able prop­erty, in­clud­ing cars, live­stock and fur­ni­ture, as col­lat­eral for loans,” said Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe.

This Bill would be com­ple­mented by sim­i­lar in­stru­ments such as the Zim­babwe In­vest­ment Au­thor­ity Amend­ment Bill, set to pro­vide le­gal un­der­pin­ning to the One-Stop-Shop In­vest­ment Cen­tre and the Amended Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zones Act, af­ter its pas­sage in Par­lia­ment, which will also be brought dur­ing this ses­sion. The leg­is­la­tion is ex­pected to boost the coun­try’s ca­pac­ity to at­tract world-class in­vest­ment, em­ploy­ment cre­ation, tech­nol­ogy trans­fer and in­no­va­tion in strate­gic ar­eas of the coun­try’s econ­omy.

Other Bills lined up for con­sid­er­a­tion are the Con­sti­tu­tional Court Bill, the Ru­ral Dis­trict Coun­cil Bill, the Tra­di­tional Lead­ers’ Bill, the Prisons Bill and the Mar­riages Bill. The Coroner’s Of­fice Bill, which will pave way for the set­ting up of the Coroner’s Of­fice re­spon­si­ble for medico-le­gal in­ves­ti­ga­tions will also be tabled. The Small Claims Court, the Com­mer­cial Court and the High Court Bills are set to be merged into the Ju­di­cial Laws Amend­ment (Ease of Set­tling Com­mer­cial and other Dis­putes) Bill 2016.

The pack in­cludes the In­sol­vency Bill and amend­ments to the In­sur­ance Act, the Pen­sions and Prov­i­dent Funds Act, and the In­sur­ance and Pen­sions Com­mis­sion Act and the Mi­cro-fi­nance Act. Also per­ti­nent is the pro­gres­sive fine-tun­ing of the in­di­geni­sa­tion reg­u­la­tions.

Said Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe: “It will be re­called that I is­sued a state­ment to clar­ify Govern­ment’s po­si­tion re­gard­ing the In­di­geni­sa­tion and Eco­nomic Em­pow­er­ment Pol­icy on 11th April, 2016. The rel­e­vant Act will thus be amended to bring it into con­so­nance with the enun­ci­ated pol­icy po­si­tion.” Other Bills to be tabled are the Com­puter Crime and Cy­ber Se­cu­rity Bill, the Elec­tronic Trans­ac­tions and Elec­tronic Com­merce Bill and the Data Pro­tec­tion Bill.

Given the packed agenda set by the Pres­i­dent, we urge par­lia­men­tar­i­ans to work hard and speed up the set leg­isla­tive re­form pro­cesses cov­er­ing all the 35 pieces of leg­is­la­tion. Some of the Bills are com­pletely new, while oth­ers are Acts that will be amended such as the In­di­geni­sa­tion and Eco­nomic Em­pow­er­ment Act that will be aligned with Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe’s clar­i­fi­ca­tion of the law in April this year.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe ad­mit­ted the econ­omy was fac­ing a num­ber of chal­lenges, which in­clude the sub­dued ag­gre­gate de­mand, liq­uid­ity con­straints, high in­ter­est rates, sub­dued for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment and lim­ited fiscal space. We, how­ever, com­mend the Govern­ment for its pro-ac­tive­ness in im­ple­ment­ing ini­tia­tives meant to im­prove the coun­try’s eco­nomic for­tunes.

To that end we feel the on-go­ing ease of do­ing busi­ness re­forms spear­headed by the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent and Cabi­net dove­tails with the ideals of the coun­try’s eco­nomic blueprint, Zim-As­set. The re­forms are ex­pected to boost out­put in key sec­tors of the econ­omy such as mining, man­u­fac­tur­ing, tourism and en­ergy sec­tors.

Al­ready the Govern­ment has en­acted the Joint Ven­tures Act, which pro­motes public-pri­vate part­ner­ships and is im­ple­ment­ing pro-do­mes­tic pro­duc­tion poli­cies such as Statu­tory In­stru­ment 64/2016, which puts con­trols on the im­por­ta­tion of cheap prod­ucts.

The pieces of leg­is­la­tion are al­ready bear­ing fruits. Sim­i­lar quick win­ning pro­grammes such as the pro­posed Com­mand Agri­cul­ture Scheme and the Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy, En­gi­neer­ing and Math­e­mat­ics (STEM) Pol­icy Strat­egy meant to sup­port the coun­try’s quest for in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion and mod­erni­sa­tion, are be­ing im­ple­mented.

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