Government whose 100-Day Action Plan meant to improve the ease of doing business in order to attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) ends today, is working on a new Action Plan that should again be implemented within 100 days.
Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda said recently that following President Robert Mugabe’s directive to accelerate the ease of doing business by implementing a raft of measures by December 31, government had adopted a Rapid Results Approach.
He said the first 100-Day Rapid Results Action Plan launched on September 11 had yielded various milestones including the number of days it takes to register a property from 36 days to 14 and reducing the time taken to pay taxes from 242 hours to 160 hours.
Sibanda said under the new Action Plan, the government was targeting the first quarter of 2016 to achieve key reforms that will improve ease of doing business. He said some of the reforms include amending the Companies Act, Shop licensing Act and the Procurement Act.
The government, Sibanda said, would reduce days it takes to register a business from 30 days to between 10 and 15 days. Sibanda said the next cycle of 100 days will require the full and active participation of key stakeholders from both the private and public sectors. This, he said, will need to be buttressed by a robust communication and capacity building programme not only for implementing officers but also frontline workers.
Sibanda said with the envisioned raft of reforms, Zimbabwe’s ranking on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business report was bound to improve. Zimbabwe was ranked 155 out of 189 countries on the ease of doing business report.
Zimbabwe has over the years not been able to attract a lot of FDI and this has been due to a number of reasons including portrayal of the country as an unsafe investment destination by the Western media. The issue of making Zimbabwe an investment of first choice cannot be left to government alone but requires the contribution of all key players.
The private sector as well as labour need to complement government efforts to attract FDI. The media is also a key player because potential investors are still of the view that the country is not a safe investment destination.
Government ministers on their part should not issue conflicting policy statements especially on issues to do with investment because such contradictions scare away investors.
We want to implore all key players to strive to ensure that government meets its set targets of improving the ease of doing business within the next 100 days. It is pleasing to note that the set targets are measurable so every citizen is able to review the Action Plan after the 100 days.