PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has warned Cabinet ministers and top civil servants to desist from frustrating potential investors by sleeping on duty.
Speaking at a ground-breaking ceremony at Dinson Iron and Steel plant in Manhize, Midlands province yesterday, Mnangagwa said: “We have officials who sit in air-conditioned offices, who take long to approve investors’ documents.
“They just hang their jackets in offices and sometimes read the documents half-way and put them aside — then the next day they come up with another excuse until three days pass, then months, and eventually the project is buried. We say to these officials — down with them.”
Government has been struggling to improve ease of doing business in the country due to corruption, the political and economic environment and bureaucracy.
Zimbabwe has been ranked 140/190 in 2021 and 150/190 in 2022 on ease of doing business international scales. Some of the reasons for the poor rankings are poor monetary policies and skewed property laws; and the long time it takes to secure business licences.
Transparency International has ranked Zimbabwe as one of the top countries with endemic corruption.
On sanctions, Mnangagwa said: “We are rising, in spite of the sanctions. The iron and steel manufacturing plant being established here is a paradigm shifting milestone in our country’s journey towards modernisation and industrialisation.
“The project constitutes a critical building block towards the realisation of the US$12 billion mining economy and our national Vision 2030.”
Speaking on the sidelines of the tour, Zanu PF party spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa said: “We had serious levels of corruption during your first republic (the late former President Robert Mugabe era), they blocked this project after going behind my back demanding 60% of the investment, and this pushed the investor out.”
Mutsvangwa, however, refused to name those who had thwarted the deal.