Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
The Zimbabwe Investment Authority had by June this year received 165 business applications worth more than $15,8 billion buoyed by a steady growth in the economy underpinned by various productive sectors, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said Zimbabwe was one of the fastest growing economies in Africa and that Government would pursue the investment enquiries to unlock value from potential investors.
Prof Ncube said this in the National Assembly on Wednesday last week while giving a ministerial statement on the state of the economy.
“Under the new Government there is gradual restoration of business confidence in Zimbabwe and truly Zimbabwe is open for business.
“In the first half of 2018, the Zimbabwe Investment Authority received a 165 applications worth $15,8 billion over and above the investment enquiries with various line ministries and individual companies.
“Government is pursuing various investment enquiries with the objective of increasing the external investment of $1,8 billion anticipated in 2018 to $2 billion anticipated in 2019,” said Prof Ncube.
“We are among the highest growing economies in Africa. Some of the drivers that pertain to Zimbabwe in terms of growth drivers, is China’s growth. China is projected to grow at about six- and-a-half percent per annum and that growth has a strong relation with the outlook for commodities given that Zimbabwe is a commodity producer.”
He said India’s growth had also helped Zimbabwe’s growth rate.
“Meanwhile, the economy is expected to surpass its initial Budget growth projection of 4,5 percent to 6,3 percent into 2018,” said Prof Ncube.
He cited agriculture, mining and construction as sectors that underpinned the growth.
“In terms of tax revenue, up to September we collected $3,8 billion. I just got a signal that we are doing well. As of yesterday (Tuesday) my team at Zimra confirmed that we met our target for the year in terms of collections and chances are that we will surpass the target for 2018,” said Prof Ncube.
Earlier on, Prof Ncube had implored legislators and ministers to tighten their belts saying approval for the purchase of vehicles might take long due to limited fiscal space.
He was responding to questions from legislators on when they would get their vehicles.
Others had also asked why Government ministers and senior officials were spending lavishly during foreign travels when ordinary persons were being asked to tighten their belts.
“As a Government, we have not authorised the purchase of vehicles for ministers and for Members of Parliament. There is no lavish travel. On the contrary, one of our priorities is to cut back on our Budget,” he said.
“We are aware that you have a lot of work to do in the fullness of time, but as of now, we also have to signal as the Executive and Parliament that we mean business on austerity.
“We are working on our Budget. I will present our Budget statement on November 22, 2018. At that stage I will say when I will provide the vehicles, but as of now I am not yet ready to provide them,” said Prof Ncube.