Thursday, January 21, 2010

Zimbabwe: ‘One-stop investment centre almost ready’

Restructuring of the Zimbabwe Investment Authority has reached an advanced stage as the country moves to set up a one-stop centre for registering businesses in anticipation of a boom in foreign investors, a senior Government official has said.

Secretary for Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Dr

Desire Sibanda said the centre would have both regulatory and promotional functions.

"We do not have a one-stop investment centre and the procedures to follow when registering a business are cumbersome and not clear," he said.

Dr Sibanda said benchmarking of the country with others had revealed that it took long for one to register a business in Zimbabwe, hence the need for the centre.

According to the 2009 Doing Business World Report, it takes about 96 days to set up a business in Zimbabwe when on average it should take 53 days in an African country.

"We are working with authorities such as the Registrar of Companies, Ministry of Home Affairs, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, local authorities and Zimra who are involved in the registration of businesses to set up the centre," said Dr Sibanda.

"By revamping the duties of ZIA, we will be able to create an entity that encompasses the roles played by these authorities to be under one roof," he said.

Dr Sibanda said the centre would facilitate the establishment of a database of investment into the country to monitor progress.

"The centre will respond to proposals from domestic and foreign investors to promote joint ventures.

"For us to attain double-digit economic growth rate, we need an institutional framework which promotes investment," Dr Sibanda said.