ZIMBABWE’s State Enterprises and Parastatals Minister, Gorden Moyo, on Wednesday called on corporations and entrepreneurs in South Africa to plough money into the investment-starved country as its government had put in place policies that would help grow the economy.
Zimbabwe is battling to rejuvenate its economy after years of hyperinflation and negative investor sentiment caused by political instability. It has in recent years introduced an indigenisation policy that forces foreign-owned companies doing business in the country to cede a 51% stake to locals.
Mr Moyo told Business Day in an exclusive interview in Johannesburg that he was visiting South Africa to showcase investment opportunities.
"Zimbabwe is ready to engage and ripe for investors. In the energy, transport and telecoms sectors there are opportunities and we have protected these through the new constitution," he said. "We are asking them to forget the past. We cannot drive with rear-view mirrors."
Mr Moyo said the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had a development plan centred on jobs, upliftment, investment, capital and empowerment to "further normalise the situation in Zimbabwe".
He said the country expected to have a free and fair election this year, as the new draft constitution would go to parliament in the next two weeks. After this, there would be a referendum on the adoption of the constitution, which would pave the way for national elections.
Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Wednesday that the government had insufficient funds to finance the referendum for its new constitution or elections, and dismissed reports that there was $217 left in the government’s coffers.
"For any government, having a referendum and an election in such close proximity of each other is taxing to the budget. We need $220m to fund both," the finance minister said.
Mr Moyo, a member of the MDC, was optimistic about the elections, saying he had no reason to believe that the polls would not be free and fair.
With Colleen Goko
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