Felex Share, Harare Bureau
Zimbabwean assets are the biggest and best buy in Africa for investors at the moment while property rights are very secure, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has said.
In an interview with CNN’s Richard Quest, Prof Ncube said Zimbabwe, through various austerity measures, was focused on economic revival for the prosperity of its citizens and investors.
“Zimbabwe is open for business already,” he said in response to a question on the rule of law.
“Zimbabwe is easily the biggest buy in Africa right now on any asset. You talk about rule of law, this is about property rights at the end of the day.
“Property rights are secure in Zimbabwe. We have a judiciary that works, we have contract enforceability conditions that work, we have rule of law that works,” he said.
Professor Ncube told Quest; “We have a list of other institutional reforms that we are putting in place including improving the ease of doing business conditions and putting in place one-stop-shop (centres) to make it easy for investors to come in. Clearly, Zimbabwe is the biggest buy in Africa right now.”
Prof Ncube said investors had every reason to believe in the new dispensation led by President Mnangagwa.
“In the new dispensation we have said we do not want to focus on politics,” he said.
“We are focusing on economic revival. That is why we have launched this Transitional Stabilisation Programme as an enactment programme for our Vision 2030. We are focusing on the economy, determined to put it on the right path for prosperity and for investors to profit as long as they work with us,” he said.
“They should believe in us because we are walking the talk. For the first time, we are doing everything we said we will do. We are very results-oriented.”
He said austerity measures being implemented by Government, including the 2 percent tax on electronic financial transactions, were bearing fruit.
“My approach there has been two-fold,” he said.
“One is obviously budget cuts in terms of wage bill rationalisation and on that front, President Mnangagwa is leading from the front. He cut his salary by 5 percent. We all cut our salaries by 5 percent as Ministers to show leadership in terms of cost containment, in terms of austerity,” stated Prof Ncube.
“We have also expanded the revenue base by following on the informal sector which has expanded by the way. The economy is 40 percent bigger than we thought. In order to expand the coverage, we introduced a 2 percent financial transactions tax. Those two together have worked for us very well in terms of fiscal discipline and fiscal consolidation. You will be surprised that in the last month of October, we balanced the budget. In fact, we have a primary surplus.
So we are making progress after only three months in this new Government,” he said.
For the first time in many years, Zimbabwe achieved a budget surplus of $29 million in October.
Prof Ncube said Zimbabwe’s debts needed to be restructured to open the country for investment and international credit lines.
“We are engaging and that is a two-step procedure.”
“First of all, we had to get our economic reform programme which is enshrined in a document, TSP, accepted globally. We have done that. We have sold it nationally and we will really move into the first phase, which is to clear the debt arrears for the African Development Bank and World Bank. We are determined that in the next 12 months that is done and then we move on to the third phase which is the Paris Club negotiations with the bilateral creditors.”
On corruption, he said: “We are dealing with corruption. We are becoming more transparent, we have zero tolerance policies on corruption. A lot of people have been locked up. We are desirous to engender transparency everywhere.”