Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda says the Government needs to come up with a clear diasporan policy that would attract Zimbabweans based outside the country to invest back home.
Speaking at the just ended Parliamentary 2018 pre-budget seminar in Victoria Falls, Adv Mudenda said Parliament was ready to assist the Government in enacting an appropriate law so that Diasporans bring in money into the country.
“We need to come up with a clear Diaporan policy and Parliament will assist in the enactment of the appropriate law so that the Diasporans can bring the monies that they have outside there.
“We yearn for proposals on special tax other incentives for Diasporan investments and property in equities and other assets including investing in the stock exchange,” he said, adding that this was not a wishful thinking as other developing economies such as Ethiopia have done it before.
Adv Mudenda said Ethiopia’s Diaspora remittances were in excess of $4 billion annually with that country’s nationals based in foreign lands investing in the construction of one of their largest inland dam.
“They have built a new dam, one of the biggest in Ethiopia; they encourage Diasporans to buy infrastructure back home so that Ethiopia does not borrow money and the Diasporan have done it by investing in infrastructure for the construction of the dam.
“Honestly, we (Zimbabwe) cannot expect Diasporans to remit through our formal financial channels without spelling out what’s in it for them to bring the money back home,” he said.
The Speaker of Parliament noted that the State enterprises and parastatals was a sector that the country also required to address to ensure effectiveness and efficiency in the operations of the entities.
A total of 28 out of the 93 State enterprises and parastatals audited last year, Adv Mudenda said, incurred a combined loss of $270 million.
“And the question is where are we as Parliament in monitoring that process? The poor performance of parastatals is attributed to the weak corporate governance and effective control mechanisms. How do we explain a situation where some of the State enterprises operate without full boards?
“Some of them have come before Parliament where the only board member was a permanent secretary; very disappointing and some of the boards are reconfigured when ministers change,” he said.
“The 2018 budget should endeavour to plug in the loopholes so that more State-owned enterprises operate viably and Parliament must make some concrete input in that regard including suggestion on commercialisation of some of these parastatals.”
Adv Mudenda said Parliament cannot afford to see State-owned entities running losses while continuing to milk the fiscus.
“We cannot afford to continue bailing out these underperforming entities whose contribution to the Gross Domestic Product has fallen from 40 percent to miniscule figure of below 10 percent,” he said.