Nyemudzai Kakore, Herald Correspondent
President Mnangagwa yesterday said $250 million of the expected $1,3 billion had been repatriated back to Zimbabwe in the last three months, with Government having extended by a further two weeks the moratorium for those still outstanding to return the funds and assets.
The recovered amount is only from 105 out of the 1 166 reported cases.
In a statement read on his behalf by Acting Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister, Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo, President Mnangagwa said 30 cases valued at $50 million of immovable properties in various countries were reported to RBZ, while 210 cases valued at $287 million related to externalised funds that were used to procure imports.
The cases that have been processed so far, President Mnangagwa said, give a success rate of 45 percent by value.
“The Presidential Powers (Temporary) Measures (Amendment of Exchange Control Act) regulations, SI 145 of 2017 gazetted on December 1, 2017 gave an amnesty in respect of the repatriation of foreign currency and assets that were externalised by commission or omission or under the liberalised Exchange Control Framework,” he said.
“The amnesty expired on the 28th of February 2018. Government is pleased to advise the public that out of 1 166 valued at $1,3 billion cases of externalisation known by Government, a total of 105 cases valued at $250 million were processed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in respect of externalised foreign currency.
“In order to facilitate the above, the bank has sought my authority to extend the amnesty period by a two-week period. Accordingly, I have granted the authority for the extension of the amnesty by a period of two weeks to 16 March 2018 after which time the outstanding cases will be publicised on 19 March 2018.”
Initially, President Mnangagwa granted a three-month moratorium that stretched from December 1, 2017 to February 28, 2018.
During the period, Government neither asked questions nor preferred charges against those that repatriated the money or assets.
According to President Mnangagwa, the amnesty would also include cases that were before the courts where judgements were yet to be passed.
After the two-week extension period, Government will both name and shame, and prosecute non-compliant individuals and companies.
“The bulk of the 771 cases or 55 percent by value that did not take heed of the amnesty pertain to non-remittance of export proceeds (328 cases valued at $215, 8 million),” said President Mnangagwa. “Externalisation by foreigners (213 cases valued at $375 million), non-acquittal of imports – 153 cases valued at $75,1 million and Panama papers (scandals) and others valued at $150 million.”
Meanwhile, In his speech at the Zimbabwe Trade and Investment Expo in Harare, President Mnangagwa urged Zimbabweans and investors to ignore those who continued to malign the new Government and the country in general, saying Zimbabwe was not only open for business, as he has repeatedly stated, but was also politically stable.
As a precursor to guaranteeing free, fair and credible elections, President Mnangagwa said he would soon be meeting various political party leaders to also foster conditions of a non-violent election.
“I will soon be meeting political party leaders to deliberate and advise that we should have no violence pre, during and post elections,” he said.
“Responsible authorities have undertaken the biometric voter registration (BVR) to ensure that all interested voters exercise their democratic right to choose their leaders.”
President Mnangagwa said investors and would-be investors should not be deterred by those who continue to speak ill of the new dispensation.
“To that end, your investment decisions should not be affected or influenced by political uncertainty or obscurity; we are confident of having free, fair and credible elections in line with the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and the African Union (AU) principles and guidelines governing democratic elections,” he said.
“We would like to assure investors, domestic and foreign, that Zimbabwe is not only ready for business, but is politically stable. You should ignore, kuvukura kunenge kuchingoitika munyika (You should ignore some idle chatters in the country),” said the President.
He called on investors to explore opportunities in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism, health, transport, infrastructure development and special economic zones.
“I, therefore, urge both local and foreign investors to explore and exploit these investment opportunities and help to set our country on a new trajectory path,” he said.
“Zimbabwe is endowed with a favourable climate and large tracks of arable land suitable for all year round farming activities.
“This provides immense opportunities for businesses in agro-processing across the entire agriculture value chain, opportunities for farm mechanisation, manufacture of pesticides, herbicides, seeds and irrigation development to spearhead our command agriculture on maize production, which we have since extended to soya beans, wheat, fisheries, wildlife and livestock production.”
President Mnangagwa affirmed Government’s position on adhering to the rule of law and protection of property rights in order to help investors recoup on their investment.
“My Government also re-affirms its commitment to the rule of law and the observance of property rights,” he said. “In this regard, institutions such as the independent judiciary and legislature remain ready to ensure full protection of investments made within the confines of our laws.
“We will continue to implement measures aimed at improving the business operating environment in our quest to make Zimbabwe a favourable investment destination, leveraging on our peace dividend.”
The conference was organised by BrandMe International, who were represented by their executive director Ms Josey Mahachi.
Ms Mahachi is credited for having lured Africa’s richest billionaire Aliko Dangote to the country, where his team is exploring investment opportunities.