SPEAKER of Parliament Jacob Mudenda has challenged the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to have a “sense of urgency” in drafting bills that promote foreign direct investment (FDI).
Mudenda said this last week during the tour of Norton Special Economic Zone (NSEZ) organised by Member of Parliament for Norton, Christopher Mutsvangwa.
He said: “I am pleased to hear from the Ministry of Justice that the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) bill is coming to parliament.
However with all due respect I did not hear the time frames from the Ministry of Justice. There is this need for a sense of urgency. We need to change our mindset and not say it is business as usual.
“Even President (Robert) Mugabe has defended the need for urgency and this is seen in the foreword of the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio Economic Transformation (ZimAsset). ZimAsset is pointing to a target and we don’t want to miss that target. We need to accelerate inflows of FDIs. Let these FDIs be the marshal plan to uplift the economy of Zimbabwe.”
Mudenda was responding to a speech by Ministry of Justice legislative drafting director Mupariwa Mukaratirwa in which he said his ministry was amending the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (Zia) Act (Chapter 14:30) to possibly incorporate SEZ issues.
Mukaratirwa said: “However this is still work in progress and the amendments are yet to be incorporated into law. This route however should be in the short-term.”
He said the Ministry was working on the enactment of a new piece of “omnibus legislation.
“Under this option, all pieces of legislation that govern the SEZ programme would be consolidated under one SEZ law. This would help deal with challenges previously encountered by Export Processing Zones caused by the presence of multiple legislative instruments administered by different authorities,” said Mukaratirwa.
He said the law could give Zia and other relevant government agencies power to act autonomously for example on issuance of trading licences and visas.
Mukaratirwa said the drafting of the legal and regulatory framework for the implementation of SEZs is guided by factors that include flexible labour laws, a level playing field for investors, security of land, immigration regulations, customs and tax policy to mention a few.
Speaking at the same event Mutsvangwa assured diplomats that laws that hindered investment in the country would be changed.
Parliament is expected by the end of this year to establish a parliamentary budget office that will seek to analyse the budget and socio economic policies that affect the country with the aim of making them friendlier.
The government since its launch of the economic blue print ZimAsset has been on a desperate drive to look for investment to breathe life into the ailing economy