Victoria Falls Reporter
AFRICAN countries should cooperate and have a harmonised taxation system to equally benefit from foreign investments, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa said yesterday.
Officially opening the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (Focac) fourth legal meeting in Victoria Falls yesterday, Cde Mnangagwa said the continent should push for the uniformity of investment and trade laws.
“In Zimbabwe for example, export industrial zones have been established to attract investment and all taxes will be exempted in the first five years after the programme of an investor has been officially approved. A tax of five percent will then be levied for the next five years. Currently there are wide variations within regions on the one hand and in the country and continental level on the other,” he said.
“As a way forward, I believe that consideration should be given to determine a harmonised taxation system to avoid international competition on favourable taxes. We have a situation where there is disequilibrium in relation to investment and procedures to investment as some are easy in other countries and difficult in others and therefore the need to harmonise such taxes.”
Cde Mnangagwa said China-Africa investment had increased to more than $15 billion over the years.
“We need to conclude bilateral investments treaties between China and African countries as a tool for leveraging and promoting the much needed investment. BITs provide a legal framework for the reciprocal protection of investments since they are recognised as enforceable at international law,” he said.
Cde Mnangagwa applauded the China-Africa cooperation for having a positive impact on the economic development of Africa.
He said Chinese business investments in Africa were enhancing job creation, infrastructural development and other benefits.
“China’s direct investments in Africa continue to alleviate the gravity of unemployment problems, thereby improving the quality of life of many families. To facilitate more investment, therefore I believe that it is imperative for participants to deliberate on how to prevent corruption, abuse of power, privilege and undue influence and formulate resolutions on how the scourge can be extirpated at both country and continental levels,” said Cde Mnangagwa.
He said Chinese investment projects were being carried out in 49 countries in Africa in fields like trade, production, processing, resources development, communication and transport.
“China has also been investing heavily in the construction field, especially in areas such as water supply, transport and power supply at relatively low cost,” said Cde Mnangagwa.