HARARE, May 15– Corrupt officials asking for “facilitation payments” and bureaucratic logjams have resulted in increased delays in creating business and the low position of Zimbabwe on the Doing Business rankings, a World Bank report says.

Out of the 189 ranked countries Zimbabwe has been placed on position 171 from 172 last year. In its 2015 Ease of Doing Business report received here Thursday, the World Bank said the levels of corruption in Zimbabwe had led to introduction of preventive bureaucratic systems which had served to create unnecessary delays in the registration of companies.

“Delays frequently occur such as City of Harare inspectors claiming they cannot get transportation to inspect a site,” it said. “Even if offered transport to the site by the contractor or consultant, the inspectors are not allowed to accept because they are not insured for travel provided by a third party,” it added.

The World Bank said systems created to prevent corruption also slow processes as since 2007 the chief building inspector and a deputy inspector undertake inspections. The change was implemented after allegations that lower ranking officials were requesting facilitation payments.

“This has caused the time required for inspection to increase,” the report said.

Top government officials including cabinet Ministers have also been accused of demanding bribes to allow investors to set up shop in the country with President Robert Mugabe saying some of the affected parties
had reported the nefarious practices to him.

Zimbabwe ranks below average in five of the ten benchmarks used to measure the ease of doing business and only the benchmark of payment of taxes reaches more than 60 per cent.

Data collected by Doing Business showed that starting a business in the country requires nine procedures, takes ninety days and costs 114.6 per cent of income per capital.

The ten requirements which are also the benchmarks include registering property, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency, getting electricity and trading across borders.

In the southern Africa region, South Africa tops the list followed by Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho. Zimbabwe is sixth while Angola is last.