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Bill now law
Investment Centre (ZIC) and Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA)
have stopped approving projects from prospective investors following
the passage of the Zimbabwe Investment Authority Bill into law.
What it means is that the EPZA and ZIC Acts no longer have any force
or effect, legal experts indicated yesterday.
At the moment, there is nothing happening at both companies in terms
of their core business, sources said.
"We have stopped approving and considering new projects," said one
source with EPZA, adding: "If we ever give any prospective investor
a licence, that will be deemed illegal."
Assuming that no urgent measures are taken in coming up with strategies
on handling the administrative issues during the transitional period,
it could slow down the country’s bid to attract investments at a
time they are needed most.
ZIA is a product of the merger between EPZA and ZIC. Sources have
pointed out that little was covered on the operational modalities
of ZIA, thereby casting a shadow on the credibility of the new institution.
The Ministry of Industry and International Trade was expected to
make an announcement on how administrative issues would be handled
during the transitional phase.
ZIC and EPZA chief executives Mr Dominic Mubaiwa and Mr Walter Chidhakwa
respectively were reluctant to comment on the matter, referring
all questions to the Minister of Industry and International Trade,
Mr Obert Mpofu.
"We have an officer within the ministry who is dealing with that
issue and progress is being made," Mr Mpofu said with little sense
The new law provides for the establishment of a one-stop investment
shop responsible for implementing promotion of decentralisation
of investment activities and supervising the implementation of approved
projects among other issues.
The Act also provides for an 11-member board appointed by the Minister
of Industry and International Trade in consultation with the President.
An investment committee would also be set up with responsibility
for making recommendations to the board for approval or rejection
of application for investment licences. It will be chaired by the
ZIA chief executive.
Under the Act, the board will be required to submit reports to the
minister on its operations and other issues as the minister may
require. The minister would be mandated with publishing guidelines
for investment, which shall mention general incentives that may
be applicable to licensed investors, whether foreign or local.
Investment inflows into Zimbabwe haven taken a dip in the recent
years due to the perceived country risk and macro-economic challenges
facing the country.
But some investment analysts say while the above factors have contributed
to the decline in inflows, lack of adequate information to prospective
investors had also hamstrung investment.
Experts say up-to-date information to potential investors, especially
in new markets, was vital as it would give them guidelines on investment
opportunities in the country.
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