By Daniel Chigundu
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda has called on African Parliamentarians to enact laws that will promote and attract domestic and foreign investment to the continent.
Zimbabwe like many other African countries is desperately looking for foreign direct investment (FDI) to help boost the economic situation that has seen most companies closing or scaling down their operations.
Bureaucracy has been the major problem for most African countries which has also seen them scoring badly on the World Bank Cost of Doing Business report, and other reports which unfortunately are used by potential investors to determine where they will take their investment to.
Speaking at the on-going African Parliamentarians Network on Development Evaluation (APNODE), Mudenda said although Africa is rich with natural resources it has failed to effectively benefit from their exploitation.
“The major goal of development evaluation should be hinged on two issues, the first one is to address the African conundrum which is that Africa is endowed with variety of rich natural resources and yet these natural resources are not fully exploited by us the Africans, what is happening now is that we are exporting in raw form some of these natural resources without some measures of value addition, without some measure of value beneficiation, and yet these two should be the anchor of industrialization of Africa.
“And as a consequence Africa remains poor and yet so rich, that is the conundrum that development evaluation must address through our Parliamentarians in terms of exercising our oversight on the executive, in making sure that we have appropriate policies that address this African conundrum, which is indeed a big irony as far as our legislative role as parliament.
“Development evaluation evolves between us as Parliamentarians as central agency to come up with laws that create conducive environment for foreign and domestic investment. These laws must create an accelerated easy of doing business in Africa. So that we become the preferred continent of investment at all times because we have the natural resources which most continents don’t have,” Mudenda said.
Zimbabwe has in recent years made some laws which are perceived to be investor threatening, for example the controversial Indegenisation and Empowerment Act, which has seen investors ditching the country opting to rather go to war torn countries in the continent.
And just recently Industry Minister Mike Bimha introduced Statutory Instrument 64 (SI64) which banned importation of some goods from the country’s neighbors.
Mudenda added that legislators must also put strong laws that will help prevent capital flight and corruption which has seen Africa losing about US$50billion every year through unceremonious, unscrupulous and crooked means.
The Speaker said multinational companies use deliberate complicated accounting systems to enable them to fleece the continent of its resources.
President Robert Mugabe earlier this year revealed that Zimbabwe lost about US$15 billion through illicit trading and mining of diamonds in Chiadzwa, which saw government consolidating all diamond mining activities in the country.