The Sunday News
Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
THE Office of the President and Cabinet has said it is happy with progress made in the amendment and realignment of some laws meant to promote Ease of Doing Business in the country.
The OPC came up with the Ease Of Doing Business strategy to promote a thriving and robust private sector for high and inclusive growth and sustainable development and is measured through 100-day Rapid Results Approach.
Giving an update from the OPC on the progress of Ease of Doing Business reforms at the 78th Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe annual general meeting and conference which ended in Victoria Falls yesterday, deputy chief secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Ray Ndhukula challenged local authorities to embrace the concept as it will cascade to them for implementation.
“Government is satisfied with the pace at which we are implementing these reforms although there is a lot of impatience in the private sector. Eight pieces of legislation have been forwarded to Parliament and the remaining ones are at different stages and hope by end of 2017 they will be passed,” said Dr Ndhlukula.
He said some of the laws used in the country were now old, with some dating back to 1914.
Some of the Acts being looked into are Public Procurement Bill, Companies Act of 1952, Mines and Minerals Act and others.
“Thirteen Statutory Instruments were identified for amendment and 11 have been completed and two outstanding. These reforms are to be decentralised to local authorities which are a vital cog in the governance systems of the country as they ensure quality service delivery to the citizenry.
Local authorities need to embrace the Ease of Doing Business reforms to meet the needs of both the business sector and the citizenry. Some local companies are now havens for leakages and corruption,” said Dr Ndhlukula.
In terms of the amendment of the Companies Act, Dr Ndhukula said the motive was to make life easier for citizens who want to register companies.
“One of these is Companies Act of 1952 which is currently being reviewed by Attorney General’s Office. Implementation of online name search has seen 3 386 searches being done to date and an average of 60 being received and processed per day.
“On shop licensing, Government waived advertising by business operating in designated areas and this has reduced the period of obtaining licence from 56 to five days. Buoyed by these achievements, Government has now widened scope of reforms to cover various sectors such as tourism and enablers as well as local authorities,” he said.
He said the concept is to cover every sector especially manufacturing, mining, agriculture and investment, adding that they anchor the country’s comparative and competitive advantages hence reforming them will bring a lot of socio economic benefits.
Dr Ndhukula said the country should pull a leaf from countries such as Zambia and Kenya that have adopted a new mining regulatory framework which conform to local needs and international best practices.
He said a technical working committee had been established to facilitate the review of legal, regulatory, licensing and other issues in the mining sector and speed up review of the Mines and Minerals Act after previous consultations raised concerns about export licence approval processes, too many approval authorities, export licence validity period and fees.
Dr Ndhlukula said the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill should recognise the role of artisanal miners who are now contribute 40 percent of annual gold output.
The reforms of the mining regulation are meant to curb mineral leakages and corruption, vices common in the sector.
The annual event was held under the theme: “Growth to boom, Key Imperatives for Mining Success.”