President Emmerson Mnangagwa has made a significant change by removing the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (ZIDA) Act from the purview of Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s ministry.
This move has raised concerns that the President is aiming to consolidate power and gain control over the country’s crucial economic sectors. Recently, Mnangagwa established the controversial Mutapa Investment Fund, which encompasses more than 20 state enterprises and shields them from public scrutiny.
Through statutory instrument 224 of 2023, President Mnangagwa officially transferred the ZIDA Act away from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. The Act previously tasked Minister Ncube with promoting and implementing investment strategies to attract both domestic and foreign investors.
His responsibilities also included decentralizing investment activities, coordinating investment programs, and facilitating entry and implementation of investment projects. Additionally, Minister Ncube was responsible for promoting Zimbabwe as an attractive investment destination and improving the investment climate through consultations between the public and private sectors.
Economic analyst Mike Vareta expressed concerns about the removal of the ZIDA Act, seeing it as a sign of increased government secrecy and reduced transparency. Vareta believes this development will make it more challenging for investors to understand and navigate the Zimbabwean investment landscape. He emphasized the importance of creating a conducive environment for investment by focusing on improving infrastructure, reducing corruption, and ensuring a level playing field for businesses.
Political analyst Romeo Chasara shared similar concerns, viewing the removal of the ZIDA Act from the Finance minister’s purview as a negative development. Chasara believes this change will make it more difficult for investors to operate in Zimbabwe and suggests that it is an attempt to centralize power in the hands of the President. He warns that such centralization could hinder the private sector and impede economic growth.
The removal of the ZIDA Act from the Finance minister’s responsibilities has raised questions about the government’s transparency and the future of investment promotion in Zimbabwe. Investors may face challenges in navigating the investment landscape amid concerns over centralized power and reduced transparency.