Home » Governance » Let’s Condemn the Bad, Praise the Good [editorial]

GOVERNMENT has over the years crafted policies that seek to promote the interests of Zimbabweans ahead of foreign investors who want to exploit the country’s resources.

Laws and policies such as the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act and the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation respectively are two perfect examples demonstrative of this thrust.

These are national policies and laws that should be clearly understood by all Zimbabweans.

The indigenisation law for instance is meant to ensure that Zimbabweans leverage on the country’s vast mineral resources when negotiating for partnerships with foreign investors. The 51:49 percent ownership ratio between a foreign company worth over US$500 000 and Government is meant to ensure Zimbabweans are leap-frogged into the mainstream economy.

The law also seeks to reserve certain sectors of the economy such as retail for Zimbabweans. Such a law is critical in addressing the economic imbalances that were a peculiar feature of the racist Rhodesian economy.

Zim-Asset on the other hand is the new economic blueprint that provides a guideline to Government’s economic recovery activities during the next five years to 2018. These will involve increased productivity on the farms, processing and beneficiation of minerals, investment in housing and road infrastructure, all of which should increase employment prospects for Zimbabweans.

Zim-Asset is built around four strategic clusters for better focused implementation and supervision. These clusters also enable potential investors to make easy selection depending on perceived returns.

China is involved in a number of sectors of the economy, including agriculture, and mining. India, through its Essar Africa Holdings is investing about US$750 million in the revival of former steel processing giant, Ziscosteel, now NewZim Steel. Brazil on the other hand recently granted Zimbabwe US$100 million to improve agricultural productivity.

We, therefore, find it baffling that industry as represented by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, which should be playing a key role in articulating Zim-Asset and attracting foreign investment, are almost acting like opposition mouthpieces, attacking Government for policy inconsistency or lack of policy direction.

We are not the least surprised that there is literally nothing going on in the industrial sector, given the lack of innovation and resourcefulness in the leadership.

Ordinarily industry is said to be the engine for economic growth and national development. They are expected to aise Government on how best to implement policies which empower locals, not those which scare potential investors and promote the impoverishment of workers.

What informs most of the criticism of Government policies is the resentment stemming from the land reform programme. Otherwise there is no time when Government has taken over any foreign-owned company. The furthest Government has gone has been to urge all companies to comply with the investment thresholds, something not new to anyone.

Now we have ambassadors from various countries echoing the voices of our own industrialists, the opposition and civic society organisations about lack of policy clarity. And it is not rocket science to appreciate why. If there is an opportunity that they can negotiate to come and mine while they pay the local workers US$30 per month and repatriate everything, why not?

We are not surprised that the World Bank and its affiliates always produces negative reports on the investment environment in the country. Our own people are the source of the negative information, including latest insinuations that without dialogue with Morgan Tsvangirai, economic recovery is impossible.

Lets condemn what’s bad, like corruption. But what’s this talk about political instability in the country?

Source : The Herald