Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
ECONOMIC experts have said the new Government should prioritise economic recovery by coming up with a clear investment roadmap and job creation strategy.
Following the resignation of President Mugabe on Tuesday and the coming in of former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabweans across the divide are optimistic that economic development will be the biggest winner in the new political dispensation.
The incoming President is due to take over as President of Zimbabwe with his swearing in ceremony slated for tomorrow.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce past president, Mr Luxon Zembe said the new Government has a mammoth task of improving the economy.
“You can see from the comments that people have made in terms of job creation, improvement of the standards of living as well as ensuring that the current cash crisis is resolved,” he told Business Chronicle.
“The first thing is to come with clear policies that are market driven; policies that attract investment because we have a lot of investors who are just waiting in the wings and all they need are good policies that are competitive with the rest of the world,” he said.
Mr Zembe said it was also critical to ensure the new political order sorts out the country’s external debt as well as creating an attractive investment climate hinged on continued thrust of improving the ease of doing business.
“All laws that make us uncompetitive in terms of attracting investment at local government and central government level need to be repealed,” he said, adding that in the financial services sector, people need access to their money to restore banking sector confidence.
Mr Zembe, however, said the generality of Zimbabweans should not expect economic performance to improve overnight especially where confidence with the people has to be restored.
“Economic improvement is not something that people should expect overnight especially where matters to do with restoration of confidence are involved.
It demands a lot of hard work and effort to improve economic performance.
“The new political leadership needs about three months to come up with effective policies and about 12 months before we start seeing the rewards of those reformed policies,” he said.
The new political dispensation, Mr Zembe said, needs to ensure the prevailing price increases being driven by foreign currency shortages to import raw materials by the manufacturing sector are arrested.
He noted that the manufacturing sector was going onto the black market seeking foreign currency with the parallel market going haywire.
“The new political leadership needs to continue with the thrust of export incentives to ensure the market is well resourced,” he said.
Another economist, Ms Wendy Mpofu, said the new political leadership needs to relax laws such as the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act.
“Let’s allow investors to come in and give them three to five years before we enforce the indigenisation policy. That is what happens all over the world.
Investors want free space that they come in to invest and be able to get a return on the investment. So, we need to relax some of the draconian investment laws,” she said.
Dr Davison Gomo, an empowerment activist said: “The reality is that the new political order is well-versed with the problems that this country faces and in fact they don’t need any education at all as to what the challenges are and have been. So, I imagine the new system is going to be looking at eliminating all possible bottlenecks that are standing in the way of new investments whether from local or foreign sources.”
He said eliminating all the rules and regulations that were presently a stumbling block to economic growth would give the economy a new lease of life.
“Improving the administrative efficiencies of various institutions that relate to economic operations and investment is very important. I think on the back of the new order is the need to ensure the creation of employment for millions of people that have no jobs at the moment. There is also a need of ensuring that the public and social infrastructure is enhanced so that people realise there is real change,” he said.
Dr Gomo said there has got to be a demonstration of a commitment to tackling the challenges that have been bedeviling the citizens by refocusing and redirecting certain policies in the shortest possible time.
“In the long term, we are looking at dealing with economic problems as well as trying to reduce country risk by engaging all international institutions and investors that are key in appreciating anything that the new administration wants to do for Zimbabwe to get recognised as an acceptable investment destination,” he said. — @okazunga.