‘Ma­jor strides made in ease of do­ing busi­ness’ Var­si­ties call for new dis­pen­sa­tion

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Tendai Mu­gabe Harare Bureau Aux­ilia Ka­ton­go­mara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

THE Gov­ern­ment has made ma­jor strides to­wards cre­at­ing a con­ducive busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment to trans­form the econ­omy and at­tract For­eign Di­rect In­vest­ment, af­ter tabling seven Bills to do with the ease of do­ing busi­ness dur­ing the first quar­ter of this year.

This is in keep­ing with Gov­ern­ment’s pro­nounce­ment last year that 13 laws will be pro­mul­gated in the first quar­ter of the year, aimed at cre­at­ing a con­ducive in­vest­ment cli­mate by ad­dress­ing con­cerns pre­vi­ously raised by for­eign in­vestors.

Some of the Bills in­clude the Na­tional Com­pet­i­tive­ness Com­mis­sion Bill, the State Pro­cure­ment Bill, Ju­di­ciary Laws Amend­ment Bill and the Shop Li­cences Amend­ment Bill.

Ad­dress­ing del­e­gates at the fourth Zim­babwe Ac­coun­tants Con­fer­ence in Harare yes­ter­day, Vice Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa said Gov­ern­ment was com­mit­ted to work­ing with the pri­vate sec­tor in for­mu­lat­ing poli­cies that en­hanced the coun­try’s com­pet­i­tive­ness.

He said Gov­ern­ment had no mo­nop­oly and was open to new ideas that could spur eco­nomic devel­op­ment.

“I am sure that with right poli­cies in place, for ex­am­ple, a con­ducive busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment, a skilled fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tor, an ad­e­quate en­abling in­fra­struc­ture and most im­por­tantly an ag­gres­sive pri­vate sec­tor, noth­ing can stay in the way of at­tain­ing a pros­per­ous econ­omy,” said VP Mnan­gagwa.

“I am aware that Zim­babwe is listed very low in the quest of ease of do­ing busi­ness. On our own as Gov­ern­ment, we have now sev­eral, seven to 10 pieces of leg­is­la­tion, that are go­ing through Par­lia­ment in or­der to en­hance the ease of do­ing busi­ness.

“But most im­por­tantly, I think pro­fes­sion­als like you (the ac­coun­tants) should come for­ward to as­sist us with knowl­edge as to what you see as con­straints in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of ease of do­ing busi­ness in the coun­try so that we leg­is­late ac­cord­ingly.

“If you think that we have the ca­pac­ity and the knowhow to bring­ing about the ease of do­ing busi­ness with­out your­selves you are mis­taken. The de­sired so­cioe­co­nomic devel­op­ment is the col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity of all Zim­bab­weans, in­clu­sive of those at home and in the Di­as­pora.”

Zim­babwe was “en­dowed with var­i­ous trade and in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties which cut across value ad­di­tion, tech­nol­ogy trans­fers, pro­duc­tiv­ity, ca­pac­ity en­hance­ment and in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion, es­pe­cially in the agro-sec­tor, VP Mnan­gagwa said.

“Zim­babwe, like most de­vel­op­ing economies, needs an en­hanced in­vest­ment cli­mate, in­clu­sive of op­por­tu­ni­ties for busi­ness to ac­c­cess fi­nance, im­proved pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tor gov­er­nance, as well as a work­force with skills and com­pe­ten­cies to work in the mod­ern mar­ket place and com­mit­ment to tack­ling en­demic cor­rup­tion,” he said.

“As you are all aware, Zim-As­set was for­mu­lated in pur­suit of a new tra­jec­tory of ac­cel­er­ated eco­nomic growth and wealth cre­ation. It was crafted to achieve sus­tain­able devel­op­ment and so­cial eq­uity an­chored on in­di­geni­sa­tion, em­pow­er­ment and em­ploy­ment cre­ation.”

VP Mnan­gagwa said Gov­ern­ment, through Command Agri­cul­ture, was ex­pect­ing an es­ti­mated maize out­put in ex­cess of two mil­lion tonnes this sea­son, which was ex­pected to spur in­dus­trial growth.

“World­wide, there is growth in in­dus­tries us­ing starch as a raw ma­te­rial from maize and other agri­cul­tural pro­duce, as it is vi­tal for in­dus­tries to fos­ter value ad­di­tion and ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion of pro­duce from the agri­cul­tural sec­tor,” he said.

VP Mnan­gagwa said the thrust of the in­di­geni­sa­tion law was to en­sure that indige­nous peo­ple had di­rect con­trol of the econ­omy.

“When we as Gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced the con­cept of in­di­geni­sa­tion, may peo­ple in our so­ci­ety thought that we are tak­ing the coun­try back­wards, but all the de­vel­oped coun­tries in the world are in­di­genised,” he said.

“They call their economies theirs. That is the in­di­geni­sa­tion we are talk­ing about. Those of you who have mis­con­cep­tion must un­der­stand that we want to be our­selves, man­age our econ­omy our­selves, be the ma­jor play­ers in our econ­omy our­selves.

“Em­pow­er­ment means that you must have ac­cess to the tools, make your­self able to run your own econ­omy. Em­ploy­ment cre­ation, this would be achieved through ju­di­cious ex­ploita­tion of the coun­try’s abun­dant hu­man and nat­u­ral re­sources.”

VP Mnan­gagwa said the coun­try was en­dowed with nu­mer­ous trade op­por­tu­ni­ties cut­ting across all sec­tors.

In light of this, VP Mnan­gagwa said, the ac­coun­tancy pro­fes­sion was strate­gi­cally po­si­tioned to make re­mark­able con­tri­bu­tion to the growth of the econ­omy.

“Ac­coun­tancy pro­fes­sion­als need to as­sist busi­ness with de­vel­op­ing sound cor­po­rate strate­gies, pro­vid­ing sound fi­nan­cial ad­vice and help­ing busi­ness to re­duce costs, im­prove their top line in mit­i­gat­ing risks,” he said.

“As chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cers, you have over­sight on all mat­ters re­lat­ing to the com­pany’s fi­nan­cial health. This in­cludes cre­at­ing and driv­ing the strate­gic di­rec­tion of the busi­ness to analysing, cre­at­ing and com­mu­ni­cat­ing fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion.”

The con­fer­ence was also at­tended by Min­is­ter of State for Harare prov­ince Miriam Chikukwa, Min­is­ter of State in the Vice Pres­i­dent’s Of­fice Clif­ford Sibanda, Comptroller Au­di­tor Gen­eral Mrs Mil­dred Chiri and Pub­lic Ac­coun­tants and Au­di­tors Board chair­per­son Mr Brain Njik­izana. — UNIVER­SI­TIES have called for the re­vi­sion of the le­gal frame­works that guide their op­er­a­tions in or­der to adapt to the new dis­pen­sa­tion of in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion and tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion.

Vice chan­cel­lors say the “ob­so­lete” le­gal in­stru­ments that de­fine their op­er­a­tions are hin­der­ing the par­a­digm shift from be­ing only aca­demic in­sti­tu­tions to in­dus­try in­cu­bat­ing univer­si­ties.

Speak­ing af­ter a tour of univer­si­ties in South Korea and Sin­ga­pore, Univer­sity of Zim­babwe Vice Chan­cel­lor, Pro­fes­sor Levi Nyagura, said most ini­tia­tives by in­sti­tu­tions of higher ed­u­ca­tion were be­ing lim­ited by leg­is­la­tion.

“A num­ber of things have al­ready been put in place, the ba­sis of this new think­ing, new ori­en­ta­tion, new op­er­a­tional phi­los­o­phy is al­ready there but some­times univer­si­ties are con­strained by ob­so­lete le­gal in­stru­ments that some­times de­fine their ex­is­tence and lo­ca­tion in terms of this par­a­digm shift. Some­times you find peo­ple say­ing your Act says you are only sup­posed to teach and do out­reach ser­vices and do re­search but I think what we now re­quire is a re­vi­sion of the man­date of univer­si­ties in the coun­try to ex­plic­itly in­di­cate a new re­spon­si­bil­ity that is con­nected to the devel­op­ment, in­cu­ba­tion and reg­is­tra­tion of pro­duc­tive en­ter­prises be­cause that ori­en­ta­tion doesn’t ex­ist right now,” he said.

Prof Nyagura said a lot still has to be done in lo­cal univer­si­ties so that they fit into the op­er­a­tional model of re­search, in­no­va­tion and en­ter­prise.

“This par­a­digm shift re­quires the cre­ation of an en­abling en­vi­ron­ment both within the in­sti­tu­tion and ex­ter­nally. It also means we have to come up with le­gal frame­works that en­able univer­si­ties to dream and trans­late the dreams into things that ben­e­fit so­ci­ety and that way univer­si­ties be­come rel­e­vant, they be­come true sources of wealth cre­ation,” he said.

“We need a change of mind­set not just among aca­demics but also among those re­spon­si­ble for draft­ing le­gal in­stru­ments that gov­ern the run­ning of univer­si­ties. Cer­tainly the new thrust of wealth cre­ation is a new di­men­sion of univer­si­ties in Zim­babwe which must be to­tally em­braced if univer­si­ties have to be­come to­tally rel­e­vant.”

“So univer­si­ties prob­a­bly look at them­selves as repos­i­to­ries of knowl­edge which is now ev­ery­where be­cause of ad­vances in 21st cen­tury in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy. We can no longer as­sume that is the main func­tion of a univer­sity in the 21st cen­tury. It has since changed.

“What is clear is that univer­si­ties we have vis­ited in South Korea and Sin­ga­pore have re­de­fined their man­date and phi­los­o­phy to align the two with the na­tional devel­op­ment agenda and that I think is crit­i­cal as op­posed to run­ning and main­tain­ing univer­si­ties as repos­i­to­ries of knowl­edge”.

Great Zim­babwe Univer­sity Vice Chan­cel­lor Pro­fes­sor Rungano Zvobgo said univer­si­ties need to re­de­fine their man­date. “Le­gal frame­work needs re­vis­it­ing in or­der to em­power univer­si­ties to be more ef­fec­tive in push­ing the na­tion’s devel­op­ment agenda. There­fore, there is a need for univer­si­ties to re­visit their roles in so­ci­ety in or­der to jus­tify the huge fund­ing that goes into ed­u­cat­ing stu­dents,” he said.

Prof Zvobgo said univer­si­ties are the cor­ner­stone of devel­op­ment if the knowl­edge taught to stu­dents is used to im­prove the devel­op­ment and well-be­ing of the coun­try’s cit­i­zens.

The two Vice Chan­cel­lors are part of a high level del­e­ga­tion led by Higher and Ter­tiary Ed­u­ca­tion, Science and Tech­nol­ogy Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Pro­fes­sor Jonathan Moyo tour­ing univer­si­ties which have suc­cess­fully in­cu­bated their in­sti­tu­tions with in­dus­try in Asia and South Amer­ica. — @ Aux­il­iaK

The Min­is­ter of In­for­ma­tion, Me­dia and Broad­cast­ing Ser­vices Dr Chris Mushohwe (left) and his deputy Cde Sithokozile Mathuthu ap­pre­ci­ate a per­for­mance by artist Obert Dube while BAZ CEO En­gi­neer Mu­ganyura, act­ing ZBC CEO Mr Pa­trick Mavhura and an of­fi­cial from Zim-Dig­i­tal look on at a Zim-Dig­i­tal meet­ing in Vic­to­ria Falls yes­ter­day. (Pic­ture by Eliah Saushoma)

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