Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
As the country is today commemorating 38 years of political independence, analysts said more needs to be done to ensure Zimbabwe achieves economic autonomy.
Since coming into power last year in November, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has made his intentions clear that Zimbabwe has to discard its isolationist policies which led to the country being behind by nearly two decades.
President Mnangagwa has been reiterating this on various platforms advancing the “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra.
Zanu-PF Bulawayo province secretary for Finance Cde Mlungisi Moyo said President Mnangagwa’s mantra that Zimbabwe is open for business speaks directly to the need to achieve economic independence.
“We can have independence from colonial rule but as long as people are not financially and economically independent, we don’t have independence. The open for business mantra buttresses the wholesome need for economic independence,” said Cde Moyo.
He said it was understandable that some people were concerned that the open for business mantra could drown local businesses.
However, Cde Moyo said, Government was inviting investors cognisant of the need to create reserves for future generations.
“Here and now people might raise concerns over deals that we’re getting. These are deals at the formative stage of the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra. We have to start somewhere. You cannot totally discredit them and say they’re not worth coming to invest,” said Cde Moyo.
“We’re also prudent in vetting and I’m sure that the Government is giving a wise and thorough analysis to make sure that those investments leave us as the ordinary citizens protected, leave generations to come protected from the depletion of those resources, or the abuse of those resources.”
He said the Government had solidified its intentions of protecting the country’s investments through enacting laws such as the Indigenisation Act.
Cde Moyo said the public at the moment is concerned about living a dignified life.
“People want a better life. We’re coming from what I call a non-functional economy. So surely if there’s a solution that can take our economy back to its feet, the ordinary citizen embraces and are yearning for that environment. Remember we didn’t just wake up in this particular economic state. We had a functional economy before and people know it and are yearning for that,” said Cde Moyo.
Association for Business in Zimbabwe (ABUZ) chief executive officer Mr Victor Nyoni said the country’s independence gave blacks who were previously oppressed a platform to explore the business world.
He said the new dispensation needs to be careful with its open for business mantra as some deals can suffocate local businesses.
“The major important thing that we as the business sector have been talking about is that our Government needs to be extremely careful about singing all the way about Foreign Direct Investment without looking at how local businesses can grow their business without depending on foreign capital,” said Mr Nyoni.
“The danger being in future, we’ll have business being foreign-owned and having more influence from outside to the extent that locals will lose control of their businesses. So the mantra of Zimbabwe is open for business must also be coupled with an approach which does not only focus on foreign investment but also what our local people can do to safeguard their interests.”