Policy discord harming Zimbabwe – Dutch envoy

Policy discord harming Zimbabwe – Dutch envoy

HARARE, September 23 (The Source) – Policy inconsistency and discord within government is keeping away potential foreign investors interested in Zimbabwe, the Netherlands ambassador to Zimbabwe, Gera Sneller has said.

Officially launching the Zimbabwe Netherlands Business Link (ZNBL) – a forum set up by Dutch and Zimbabwean entrepreneurs to establish linkages between businesses in the two countries on Thursday, Sneller said while Dutch investors had shown a great deal of interest in Zimbabwe, the government’s action had made the country a risky destination for capital.

Last week, the discord in government was made glaring when the Information Minister Chris Mushowe issued a statement repudiating Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa’s proposals, made a week earlier, to cut public sector jobs and bonuses which he said were essential to rein in spending and a ballooning budget deficit.

The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, passed in 2008, which forces foreign companies, including mines and banks, to transfer at least 51 percent shares to black Zimbabweans has also been another highly contested policy leading to a public fallout between the Indigenization Minister, Patrick Zhuwao and Chinamasa.

“The first question that people always ask is about the investment climate. They want to know if their investment will be safe in Zimbabwe and unfortunately given the situation that we have at the moment, and especially the many policy changes that we see and the inconsistency shown by government, makes it difficult for Dutch companies to come invest in Zimbabwe,” she said.

Historically the Netherlands has been the major export destination for Zimbabwe’s horticultural produce. Trade between the two has however fallen following the collapse of Zimbabwe’s horticulture sector.