Zim posts positive reforms to improve business environment
ZIMBABWE registered three positive reforms to improve the business environment for both local and foreign investors out of a possible 10 but slipped four places to number 161 in the World Bank’s 2017 Ease of Doing Business Report.
The Government has been making efforts to further improve the ease of doing business and aims to bring the country in the double digits eventually.
The Office of the President and Cabinet oversees the Doing Business Reform initiative using the Rapid Results approach.
The Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet is the strategic sponsor of the Initiative.
Permanent secretaries from more than 10 ministries are responsible for implementing measures outlined in the action plan for each of the Doing Business Indicators.
But the reform agenda initiative is not unique to Zimbabwe alone. The World Bank notes 37 of the region’s 48 economies adopted 80 reforms to improve the business climate.
According to the report, sub-Saharan Africa economies carried out a record number of reforms in the past year to improve the business climate for local entrepreneurs, with data showing it now takes 27 days to start a business in the region compared to 37 days five years ago.
Zimbabwe was ranked number 157 last year out of 189 countries. The 2017 report, however, now covers 190 economies with the inclusion of Somalia.
The Ease of Doing Business Report is the WB’s flagship publication that measures countries’ regulations that enhance business activity or constrain it.
Investors worldwide also factor in the rankings before considering investing in a country.
For the first time, the report includes gender dimensions in three indicators that is starting a business, registering property and enforcing contracts.
According to the WB, six countries in the sub-Sahara region make starting a business more difficult for women than it is for their male counterparts.
The 2017 report also expanded the Paying Taxes indicator to cover post filing processes such as tax audits and Value Added Tax refund.
The WB, however, indicated there is room for improvements in the sub-Sahara region in this regard.
“In most economies in sub-Sahara Africa — where it is likely for an audit to take place — tax payers are exposed to a field audit whereby the auditor visits the premise of the taxpayer.
‘‘This is the case in Botswana, the Gambia, Malawi, Niger, Zambia and Zimbabwe,” said the WB.
Newly constructed Gokwe Town House now open for business. It has a revenue hall and offices for management