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