Bulawayo residents have suggested that the Zimbabwe Investment Development Authority (ZIDA) be authorised to consolidated licences to eliminate red tape and promote the ease of doing business.
These remarks were made during public consultations, Wednesday, on the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency Bill in Bulawayo.
The bill seeks to establish a single interface for investors by providing a one-stop investment centre where representatives of entities that play a role in the licensing, establishment and operationalisation of investments will be pooled together.
“One stop investment centres should house personnel with the authority to issue licenses in the shortest possible time, and with decision making authorities to avoid inconveniences to investors. This will eliminate the issue of red tape which deters progress,” said one participant.
Calvin Manduna, a trade policy consultant said it is important for the bill to regulate the number of expatriates brought in, in proportion to the size of the business to enable locals to benefit from the investments.
“In a bid to attract investors we should strike a balance so as not to disadvantage the locals. They need to benefit as well. The top management brought in should be proportional to the size of the investment,” said Manduna.
“In as much as they should be allowed to have their own senior management because of protection of intellectual property, they should at least reserve some posts for locals.”
Manduna added: “The bill should clarify if licenses for ordinary investors and those in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) will be different. It should also specify on the role of the local authority as far as decentralization of devolution on these zones is concerned.”
The residents said to promote ease of doing business, ZIDA should be empowered to develop sectors it operates in without clashing with other sectors of the government such as the ministry of local works and public services.
Andile Bafana from the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) said ZIDA should capacitate local authorities with both success and failure stories of areas that have attempted to implement SEZs so they can be able to learn how best to manage the SEZs.
Another resident reiterated on the need for the city’s monumental structures to be properly revamped and marketed as tourism resorts.
“Bulawayo is very rich in the country’s history. Tourism should be promoted in the city. As far as it (tourism) is concerned nationwide, Victoria Falls seems to be solely benefitting. Here we have Matopos national park, the hanging tree, Railways and the museum,” said the participant.
“These places need to be revamped and properly marketed to lure tourists, it would be good for business people as well. Although we have Sanganai/Hlanganani, it is not benefitting the city much. The airport for starters is not fit for the landing of big board aircrafts. These are issues that need immediate attention.”