'Zim Asset needs timeous policy adjustments'

BULAWAYO - Leading independent economist, Erich Bloch says Zim Asset should be buttressed by progressive legislation that restores investor confidence, if the economic blueprint is to yield results.

Speaking to the Daily News, Bloch said investment security and the respect for property rights will be crucial to the success of this economic blueprint.

“Of particular importance is that the relevant legislation must include substantive facilitation and assurance of investment security in general and foreign investment in particular, with especial reference to indigenisation requirements and exchange controls,” Bloch said.

Zimbabwe has maintained the indigenisation policy that has been unfriendly to investors as it requires foreign entities to cede a 51 percent stake to indigenous Zimbabweans.

Foreign investors have been sceptical to invest into the cash strapped economy which is in dire need of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Bloch said ZimAsset is a sound policy document which requires timeous policy adjustments.

“Yes, in principle, Zim Asset is sound, but its success is conditional upon effective, constructive, timeous policy implementation and especially in respect to ensuring national financial stability,” he said.

Liquidity challenges have stalled economic activity and industrial recovery, while the Zimbabwean government has failed to access international loans to bail out the cash-strapped economy.

Last week the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) introduced the Chinese Yuan, Australian Dollar, Indian Rupee and other currencies to avert the liquidity crisis.

Zim Asset hinges on four clusters of the economy which include Food Security and Nutrition; Social Services and Poverty Eradication; Infrastructure and Utilities; and Value Addition and Beneficiation.

Bloch argues that there should be also an expeditious, total or partial privatisation of non-performing parastatals in order to access funding and improve technology.

Economic analyst, Bongani Ngwenya said the implementation of Zim Asset needs the political will to see economic success and not mere political rhetoric.

“We need the political will. Our politicians are good at talking, but we hope they will act according to the blueprint,” Ngwenya said.

A local business pressure group, Bulawayo Business Arise (BBA) administrator, George Mukamba said Zim Asset should prioritise industries that have economic value.

“There should be prioritisation of certain key industries which have a multiplier effect. Once these industries experience growth, support industries will grow,” Mukamba said.

Zim Asset is an economic turnaround strategy employed by the Zanu PF government for the next 5 years.

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