'Zim lacks clear policy on foreign firms'

HARARE - Zimbabwe lacks comprehensive policies that govern the registration and operation of foreign firms, the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) says.

Richard Mbaiwa, the Authority’s chief executive, told a Foreign Affairs parliamentary portfolio committee yesterday that government must formulate policies that compel registration of start-up business, urgently realign laws to create a one stop investment shop.

He said there was “need to relook at various pieces of legislation and come up with a comprehensive framework in order for the investment promotion body to fulfil its mandate”.

“Currently, there is no legal requirement for a foreign investor to get an investment licence from ZIA,” he said, adding that “if they don’t want they can actually go ahead and establish a business without coming to ZIA.”

He said the initiative to create a one-stop investment shop is failing to take off due to the uncoordinated legislation.

“So you find that whilst we said we want to commit to deal with investment licences within five working days, investors still have to go to a number of other agencies to get different types of permits and they have got their processes that are guided by their own legal frameworks and it (licencing) might take many days to happen,” said Mbaiwa.

He added that there was a need to expeditiously harmonise and streamline those various legal frameworks.

“We have studied other countries which have established omnibus legislation which actually puts together all the institutions and give them timeframes for dealing with issues of investment permits and licences,” he said.

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