BULAWAYO, ZIMBABWE-- The Zimbabwe government has been urged to build the capacity of the National Competitiveness Commission (NCC) to enable it to effectively deliver on its mandate of ensuring Zimbabwe becomes a sought after destination for foreign direct investment.

Zimbabwe, under the new government led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, is trying to sell itself as a destination open for investment. The government set up and appointed the first board of the NCC last

year, headed by industrialist Kumbirai Katsande, but since then, the institution has not been allocated funds and other resources to begin its work.

Among other duties, the NCC is tasked with reviewing existing and new business regulations to ascertain their impact on the cost of doing business and recommend amendment or repeals where appropriate to enhance competitiveness. It is also mandated to review all price changes by government institutions, local authorities and business to ensure they do not negatively impact on the economy.

Katsande told the on-going Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) annual congress here this week that since his appointment last year, the NCC had continued to operate with little or no resources, a skeleton staff and without a substantive leader for its secretariat.

The NCC will be going into all these areas (law, regulation as well as price reviews) but the problem is the NCC is still not capacitated, Katsande told the captains of industry at the CZI meeting. The board was appointed in July last year but up until now we do not have an executive director.

He said the government should treat empowerment of the institution as a matter of urgency as it worked on various initiatives aimed at improving the country's ranking on the World Bank's ease of Doing Business Report. Last year, Zimbabwe ranked 159th out of 190 countries, only performing better than troubled countries such as South Sudan and Somalia.