Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday launched the national investment policy statement that outlines the guidelines for investing in and harnessing the opportunities that abound in Zimbabwe. The President launched the guidelines, titled Investment Guidelines and Opportunities in Zimbabwe, at a preparatory meeting for the World Economic Forum meeting to be held in Davos, Switzerland, next week.
The preparatory meeting was organised by the Zimbabwe Business Club. In the foreword to the investment policy guidelines, that we reproduce elsewhere in this issue, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe’s economy would be driven by market principles.
‘’Zimbabwe’s economy will be founded on sound market principles and principles of legal protection that encourage and protect private enterprise and the fruits thereof, while gainfully interacting with strategic public enterprises run professionally and profitably, all to yield a properly run national economy in which there is room and opportunity for everyone,’’ he said.
The new economic thrust, he added, was alive to Zimbabwe’s historical realities as he upheld the irreversibility of the land reform programme. “Zimbabwe’s historical realities and the fact that dispossession of ancestral land was the fundamental reason for waging the liberation struggle means that land cannot be reversed.
“The Government recognises, however, that the execution of land redistribution has had unfortunate outcomes and consequences and is setting up mechanisms to address these,” he said. President Mnangagwa said Government recognised the role played by both foreign and domestic investors, it’s commitment to companies that invest in the country and to be consistent in its implementation of policies among others.
“The Government commits to treating all foreign and domestic investors and investments as favourably as any other investor in like situation in relation to the establishment, expansion and operation of their investments, subject to such exceptions as are provided for in domestic laws, regulations and policies,” he said.
President Mnangagwa also set out Government’s immediate plans, which include compensation of farmers, who lost their investments through the land reform programme. “To ensure equitable compensation, the Government of Zimbabwe is considering a number of measures, including the establishment of a special ad-hoc tribunal based on international good practices to determine, among others, the values of compensation payable and modalities for payment.
“The Government of Zimbabwe will amend the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act in order to ensure certainty for investors. “While the Government will encourage partnerships between international and Zimbabwean firms, the proposed amendments will confine the 51/49 percent indigenisation threshold for only two minerals in the extractive sector, namely diamonds and platinum,” he said.
He also said Government would accelerate the implementation of the Special Economic Zones, especially promotion of value addition by providing specific incentives. President Mnangagwa said Government would also adopt an Action Plan to be implemented within the next six months that will see the modernisation of legal framework for investment, publish an inventory of all incentives available that will be periodically updated, provide for investor retention policies among others.
“The new investment law shall ensure non-discrimination between domestic and foreign investors and shall accord all foreign investors and their investments treatment no less favourable than that accorded in like situations to domestic investors in relation to the establishment, expansion, operation and protection of their investments, with any specific exceptions being provided for in a negative list to be annexed as a schedule to the law. The new investment law will enforce the protection of investors in accordance with the principles elaborated above,” President Mnangagwa said.