Fidelis Munyoro, Harare Bureau
THE Government’s decision to rescind indigenisation laws which made the country unpleasant to foreign direct investment has seen the drive to attract investment registering significant gains, President Mnangagwa has said.
He made the remarks while addressing the nation on Friday to mark his first elective year in office.
President Mnangagwa said during the year under review, his administration revisited laws, by-laws, regulations, procedures and practices that had created costs of doing business in the country. “While we are not yet where we desire, international ratings on cost and ease of doing business have registered significant gains,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the law to create the one-stop shop, the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Authority (ZIDA), was now before Parliament.
According to the ZIDA Bill, the primary function of the agency is to facilitate entry and implementation of investment projects, as well as to coordinate investment programmes and strategies.
President Mnangagwa hailed the nation for joining the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA), saying this will see it trading competitively on the continent and beyond.
Recently, the President had a successful State visit to Namibia during which several bilateral trade, investment and economic agreements were signed. “Our interaction with Namibia has now been upgraded to full Bi-National status which we also enjoy with South Africa and Botswana,” he said.
“Additionally, I inaugurated a dry port facility in Namibia, making Zimbabwe sea-linked to West Africa, Europe and the Americas via the Atlantic Ocean. We continue to increase our trade routes and outlets to enhance our export drive.”
President Mnangagwa announced that another Bilateral Joint Permanent Commission with the United Republic of Tanzania is underway. “As with most such commissions, the focus is economic,” he said. “Later in the year, I am set to visit Russia at the invitation of President Putin, the second such visit in a year.”
Early this year, President Mnangagwa visited Russia and had a productive meeting with his counterpart, President Putin.
Their discussion was centred on promoting bilateral relations and prevailing international and regional issues. Following the consultations, an exchange of documents signed during the official visit took place in the presence of the leaders of the two countries.
The signed documents included an agreement between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Zimbabwe on extradition and an inter-governmental agreement on mutual protection of intellectual activity results and intellectual property protection in the course of bilateral military-technical cooperation.
The signed documents also concerning cooperation in the sphere of countering the legalisation (money laundering) of criminally obtained proceeds and the financing of terrorism.
On the mining sector, President Mnangagwa noted significant changes that have taken place under the new dispensation.
“Our gold output has been up-scaled from about 23 tonnes the year before to 30 tonnes last year,” he said. “We expect an even bigger tonnage this year.
“The platinum sub sector has seen even more dramatic expansion and investments by way of more green-field projects, and greater strides towards value addition and beneficiation.”
Changes towards a liberalised diamond mining sector, President Mnangagwa said, had brought back old players, and attracted new ones, such as ALROSA, the world’s largest rough diamond company.
He said exciting projects continued to blaze a new trail in lithium mining, as well as the Muzarabani oil and gas fields.
On the developmental front, President Mnangagwa said following years of neglect, infrastructure development had begun to receive attention. “Many of our trunk roads are under construction, as, too, are our feeder roads,” he said, adding that contracts for the dualisation of key roads are being finalised.
“Equally, our rail network and services are being revamped so, alongside modern highways, we transform Zimbabwe into a regional transportation hub with excellent links to other countries and seaports.”
President Mnangagwa said dam construction projects that had either long stalled or had been abandoned, have been resumed, with the critical Gwayi-Shangani Dam project now taking shape. The project is set for completion within a year.