The Sunday Mail
Africa Moyo in VICTORIA FALLS
GOVERNMENT insists that businesses need to leverage on all of the country’s marketable assets such as the refurbished Victoria Falls to increase human traffic into Zimbabwe. At the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce annual congress last week, Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda said industry had to do its bit to turnaround the economy.“Tourism, for example, which is a low-hanging fruit; we have built, within the economic tourism zone of Victoria Falls, a first class runway that can land the biggest planes in the world, Airbus380 included.
“But I am very disappointed that business is quiet. There is no marketing of this new facility, nothing . . . (With) tourism we can bring in five million people and rake in more than $5 billion, which is more than the national budget. Cuba survived 50 years of US sanctions through tourism and exporting human capital,” said Adv Mudenda.
The refurbished airport, which can now land large aircraft, and Government’s efforts to promote the Open Skies Policy, should increase the number and frequency of international airlines servicing the resort town.
At its peak in 1999, Harare International Airport handled 49 international carriers like Lufthansa, Qantas and British Airways. Harare International Airport currently handles 15 international carriers.
Adv Mudenda said businesses should use Section 149 of the Constitution to petition Parliament on laws they wanted enacted, amended or repealed. The Standing Orders of Parliament stipulate that petitions be attended to not more than 21 days after they are filed.
“Parliament is active so that the amendment of various pieces of legislation helps achieve economic growth. Now, the question that I will pose to business is: How can Zimbabwe businesses contribute and adjust to the transformation of the economy and make it the new normal? What must we do?
“Give us the policy direction through your resolutions. Our vision as Parliament, we want to be at least in the top 20 (of ease of doing business world rankings), not 155 or less but in the top 20,” added Adv Mudenda.
Zimbabwe attracted US$500 million in FDI in the last three years, while Mozambique received US$4 billion.
Government, through the Office of the President and Cabinet, is presently reviewing the doing business environment.
As a result, the number of days taken to register a business has since been reduced to 13 days from 56.