Whinsley Masara, Business Reporter
GOVERNMENT has directed local authorities to formulate investor friendly by-laws and re-visit their taxation regimes to make them more investor-friendly to contribute towards economic transformation in the country.
This was said Wednesday by Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Deputy Minister Jennifer Mhlanga at the third Local Government Investment Conference (Logic) that started on Tuesday and ended yesterday in Bulawayo under the theme “Local Authorities: Ready for Investment”.
She said local authorities should promote themselves as investment destinations to improve the living standards and well-being of all Zimbabweans.
The Deputy Minister urged local authorities to place the well-being of citizens at the heart of their business and be able to measure the extent to which their policies and investments are resulting in tangible improvements in peoples’ lives.
She said Government was in the process of implementing devolution of power and responsibilities to provincial and local authorities which are competent to carry out such responsibilities efficiently and effectively.
Deputy Minister Mhlanga said the new economic dispensation seeks to reposition Zimbabwe in its rightful place in the international community.
“We have all agreed that we want our local authorities to be investment ready through formulation of investor friendly by-laws, revisiting taxation regimes to make them more investor-friendly and promoting small to medium enterprises.
“To make progress on those at the local level, we need a strong relationship and I am committed to that, as is the entire ministry.
“Holding ourselves to account is the only way we will move forward,” she said.
The Deputy Minister said the investment conference affords local authorities a viable platform to market themselves as investment destinations, to exhibit service delivery innovations within local authorities as well as provide a platform for peer learning and sharing of best practices in service delivery.
She said local authorities play a strategic role in anchoring central government efforts to ensure service delivery, hence the success or failure of the country was best depicted by their collective performance.
“Local authorities are not simply expected to provide a suitable place for investment but should participate in local economic development by becoming consumers of the produce available on the local market.
“Councils are not expected to be purchasing imported benches for their public service facilities at the expense of the bench maker at the local light industry,” she said.
The Deputy Minister said Government recognises major challenges faced by local authorities after going through a period of stagnation and underdevelopment and that they cannot tackle the challenges on their own.
“Local and central government can work together on the challenges that we face, through a renewed relationship that ensures better outcomes for all Zimbabweans.
“For us in central government, this means doing things differently and measuring success differently,” she said. — @winnie_masara