Mnangagwa’s big lie – Zimbabwe is not open for business says Cross


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We are not 'open for business' when it takes a week to clear a consignment of essential goods at the border, or an official asks 'what is in it for me' before he signs off on a license or permit required by law. We are not in business when a young couple who have made Zimbabwe their home, apply for a change of use on a property they have bought for a business venture outside Bulawayo, get nowhere for nearly three years because they will not bribe the officials involved. We are not open for business when an investor takes the plunge, invests and then discovers he has to buy foreign exchange in an illegal market at a massive premium in order to service external obligations essential to the business.

We are not 'open for business' when a retailer or wholesale firm is asked to explain why their prices are rising when they must buy import permits from Civil Servants or brief case business persons working for those in authority. When they must buy foreign exchange at a 50 per cent premium to pay external suppliers. When they must pay tax on goods and services before they have received payment themselves or they must now use runners and smugglers to secure supplies because normal channels are closed.

We are 'not open for business' when the State takes foreign exchange earnings from exporters, pays them in RTGS dollars at a 40 to 50 per cent discount and then wastes this money, buying 23-year-old Jets for the failed State Airline at a premium, even though they have been grounded for two years and cannot possibly be operated profitably.

Only and until we have dealt with all these issues will we really be 'open for business', until then we should concentrate on cleaning up our act and getting our house in order – then we will all be surprised as to how quickly investors discover what we are – a pearl of great price in Africa.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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