The government is set to rebrand the National Pricing and Monitoring Commission (NPMC) into the National Competitiveness Commission (NCC) responsible for reviewing regulations on doing business to make the country investment friendly, an official has said.
Zimbabwe is seen poorly as an investment destination, and is ranked number 171 out of 189 on the 2014 World Bank Doing Business and 124 out of 144 in the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report for 2014/15.
Addressing journalists yesterday ,industry minister Mike Bimha said the NCC, which will become operational during the second quarter of next year, will also develop competitive costing models for various sectors and monitor compliance.
“The entity will also be expected to continuously scan the environment, monitor the cost drivers and advise on measures to be taken to address emerging challenges,” he said.
He said Cabinet had agreed to convert the inter-ministerial committee on the National Pricing Structure to a standing committee to deal with price and cost drivers which he will chair.
In October last year, Cabinet set up the inter-ministerial committee to investigate why the country’s economic sectors were not competitive.
He said the ministry would come up with an implementation matrix that will ensure governments departments and other stakeholders address issues raised in the study which include labour laws, water charges, levies and taxes.
The study revealed that local labour enjoyed higher wages compared to neighbouring countries such as Zambia (53 percent cheaper), Botswana and Mozambique (42 percent cheaper) although lower than South Africa.
Finance costs were reported to be “way above the regional average” with interest rates at 28 percent, nearly double that of Mozambique and more than three times that of South Africa.
Regional costs of an environmental impact assessment in Zimbabwe was 4.5 times more expensive than the next highest – Malawi and 1 500 times more expensive than South Africa, the region’s largest economy.
The study, among other recommendations, said Cabinet should take decisive action on corruption, which it said was contributing to the cost of doing business in the country.- The Source