HomeBusinessZembe decries forced joint ventures

Zembe decries forced joint ventures

BY KUDZAI KUWAZA

THE government has been warned against forcing farmers to enter into joint ventures to access funding as this could further worsen the already fragile ease of doing business in the country.

Former Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Luxton Zembe issued the warning at the launch of the inaugural State of Industry   and Commerce Survey 2021 in Harare last week.

In a discussion about  findings of the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe survey, a frustrated Zembe told Finance minister Mthuli Ncube  that his efforts to contribute to national development through farming were being  hampered by a directive for him  to form a joint venture to secure funding.

“Leasing is a known way of doing business and why am I being forced to  go into a joint venture?” Zemba asked Ncube.

“It is like I am committing a sin (by farming through leasing). I really feel harassed and tortured,” he complained. “This is nonsense.”

He said the directive for farmers to go into joint ventures “is a recipe for corruption” in which politically connected officials could improperly benefit from the profits gained from such ventures.

Zembe said it was such directives that inhibited the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe and added that he was considering whether it was worth continuing the farming project amid such directives.

In response, Ncube said although the government had taken measures to avoid side marketing, he was not aware of the directive for farmers to form joint ventures as a prerequisite to access funding.

The minister assured Zembe that he would talk to his colleague, Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka and ask him to investigate the issue.

The survey found that there were major concerns over the ease of doing business  in the country with more than three quarters of businesses across various sectors of the economy saying the environment was unfavourable.

“Respondents were asked to indicate the challenges weighing on the ease of doing business in the country. According to the survey results, the major challenges relate to limited availability of credit (91%), unpredictable policy landscape (82%), multiple licence requirements (73%) and red tape in public offices (67%) among others,” the report revealed.

It also noted that despite the establishment of the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency, red tape and multiple licenses remained major inhibitors to doing business in Zimbabwe.

“More reforms are still needed in the licencing regime and efficiency in public service delivery,” the report observes.

Ncube, who launched the report, admitted that the government still had a long way to go  in fine-tuning the economy to gain business confidence.

“Government is working hard to address the challenges to create an enabling economic environment,” he said.

“It is not yet Uhuru. We still have a long way to go but we ask for discipline from business to be able to meet our objectives.”

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