Competitiveness Bill approved

Minister Bimha

Minister Bimha

Golden Sibanda and Silence Mugadzaweta in VICTORIA FALLS
CABINET has approved principles of the National Competitiveness Bill and the draft document for the new legislation will be presented to the Attorney-General’s Office next week, Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha has said.

Presenting his official opening speech at the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce annual congress, Minister Bimha said several initiatives were underway to improve the competitiveness of local producers, retailers and the general domestic economy.

“My ministry has completed stakeholders consultations on a Bill to establish the National Competitiveness Commission and will next week forward a draft Bill to the Attorney-General’s Office,” Minister Bimha told delegates, adding the Bill will be “tabled to Parliament during the current sitting”.

The National Competitiveness Commission will be set up by transformation of what used to be known as the National Pricing and Incomes Commission with the NCC now looking at cost drivers to enhance business competitive- ness.

The NIPC is a statutory board set up in terms of the National Incomes and Pricing Commission Act and transforming it into the NCC requires amendment of existing legislation, to be completed during the current session of legislature. The minister added that, as part of ongoing widespread efforts to improve ease of doing business and attract foreign investment, his ministry last year set up a committee to look into the sticking issues.

Minister Bimha said some of the findings, policy advice and recommendations from findings of the ad hoc advisory committee’s survey set up to look at issues on ease of doing business were adopted and implemented.

He said in the wake of the initiatives that Government is pursuing to improve the doing business environment, the country’s rankings on the World Economic Forum 2014 competitiveness report improved by seven places.

“This is leverage for us to continue improving. We are not there yet but we should continue to improve. According to the WEF report of 2014, Zimbabwe has made strides on getting electricity, registering property. More work still has to be done on starting a business, dealing with construction permits, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts as well as resolving insolvency,” the minister said.

The minister said his ministry had also established an ad hoc committee on imports, which came up with recommendations that have since been adopted by the Ministry of Finance regarding tariffs regime and import duties, adding this also led to the scrapping of import duties on certain raw materials.

“These recommendations from the ad hoc committee also resulted in us removing certain products from the general import licence through Statutory Instrument 114 of 2014 in order to control importation of goods that can be sourced locally such as poultry, maize, maize meal, yeast, cooking oil, butter, cream, refined sugar, margarine, fertilisers,” he said.

In its efforts to improve the doing business environment, Minister Bimha said Government had always ensured that ad hoc committees to look at the teething issues, were composed, mainly, of private sector players.

Further, Minister Bimha also pointed that while Government was working on setting up the National Quality Standards Authority, it had engaged renowned French global standards firm, Bureau Veritas, to screen and test imports for acceptable quality to protect both consumers and local industry.

Principles of the National Quality Standards have already been presented to and approved by Cabinet and will now be tabled before Parliament for debate and passing of the country’s first legally empowered standards regulator.

Minister Bimha also encouraged local business to adopt new thinking in terms of who and where they do business in the wake of the recent launch of the Tripartite Free Trade Area in Egypt, which presents local business and other in three regional blocs, access to a market with a total of 626 million people.

The minister attended the launch together with President Mugabe and a week later the two also attended a meeting in South Africa to deliberate on the establishment of a Continental Free Trade Area, which he said, again, presents future opportunities for easier and more widespread intra-Africa trade.Golden Sibanda and Silence Mugadzaweta in VICTORIA FALLS

CABINET has approved principles of the National Competitiveness Bill and the draft document for the new legislation will be presented to the Attorney-General’s Office next week, Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha has said.

Presenting his official opening speech at the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce annual congress, Minister Bimha said several initiatives were underway to improve the competitiveness of local producers, retailers and the general domestic economy.

“My ministry has completed stakeholders consultations on a Bill to establish the National Competitiveness Commission and will next week forward a draft Bill to the Attorney-General’s Office,” Minister Bimha told delegates, adding the Bill will be “tabled to Parliament during the current sitting”.

The National Competitiveness Commission will be set up by transformation of what used to be known as the National Pricing and Incomes Commission with the NCC now looking at cost drivers to enhance business competitive- ness.

The NIPC is a statutory board set up in terms of the National Incomes and Pricing Commission Act and transforming it into the NCC requires amendment of existing legislation, to be completed during the current session of legislature. The minister added that, as part of ongoing widespread efforts to improve ease of doing business and attract foreign investment, his ministry last year set up a committee to look into the sticking issues.

Minister Bimha said some of the findings, policy advice and recommendations from findings of the ad hoc advisory committee’s survey set up to look at issues on ease of doing business were adopted and implemented.

He said in the wake of the initiatives that Government is pursuing to improve the doing business environment, the country’s rankings on the World Economic Forum 2014 competitiveness report improved by seven places.

“This is leverage for us to continue improving. We are not there yet but we should continue to improve. According to the WEF report of 2014, Zimbabwe has made strides on getting electricity, registering property. More work still has to be done on starting a business, dealing with construction permits, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts as well as resolving insolvency,” the minister said.

The minister said his ministry had also established an ad hoc committee on imports, which came up with recommendations that have since been adopted by the Ministry of Finance regarding tariffs regime and import duties, adding this also led to the scrapping of import duties on certain raw materials.

“These recommendations from the ad hoc committee also resulted in us removing certain products from the general import licence through Statutory Instrument 114 of 2014 in order to control importation of goods that can be sourced locally such as poultry, maize, maize meal, yeast, cooking oil, butter, cream, refined sugar, margarine, fertilisers,” he said.

In its efforts to improve the doing business environment, Minister Bimha said Government had always ensured that ad hoc committees to look at the teething issues, were composed, mainly, of private sector players.

Further, Minister Bimha also pointed that while Government was working on setting up the National Quality Standards Authority, it had engaged renowned French global standards firm, Bureau Veritas, to screen and test imports for acceptable quality to protect both consumers and local industry.

Principles of the National Quality Standards have already been presented to and approved by Cabinet and will now be tabled before Parliament for debate and passing of the country’s first legally empowered standards regulator.

Minister Bimha also encouraged local business to adopt new thinking in terms of who and where they do business in the wake of the recent launch of the Tripartite Free Trade Area in Egypt, which presents local business and other in three regional blocs, access to a market with a total of 626 million people.

The minister attended the launch together with President Mugabe and a week later the two also attended a meeting in South Africa to deliberate on the establishment of a Continental Free Trade Area, which he said, again, presents future opportunities for easier and more widespread intra-Africa trade.

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