ZIMBABWE expects Foreign Direct Investment to rise four fold to 20 percent of Gross Domestic Product after streamlining the investment approval process with effect from next month.
President Mugabe launched the One-Stop Investment Shop in Harare yesterday. The one-stop shop is expected to shorten the investment approval process and eradicate the attendant system bottlenecks.
Multitudes of people from fellow African countries, regional and international economic organisations, the private sector, civil society and non-governmental organisations attended the OSS launch.
The OSS centre would see all Government departments and agencies involved in the processing of investment applications coming under one roof at the Zimbabwe Investment Authority.
Expectations are that this would significantly improve the ease of doing business ratings of Zimbabwe, its global competitiveness ranking and attract more foreign investment.
The Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion, Mr Tapiwa Mashakada, said the OSS would reduce the time taken to process investment applications from 96 to five working days.
He also said the OSS would enhance the country's competitiveness as a prime investment destination in addition to the tremendous opportunities it has on offer in all economic sectors.
If the country's investment increases four times in the next five years it would mean that by 2015 Zimbabwe would be getting FDI inflows of between US$3,5 billion and US$6 billion per annum.
"Our objective is to increase the country's investment from the current rate of 5 percent to at least 20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product within the next five years. By so doing Zimbabwe will become a leading investment destination in the region as well as abroad.
"Today is the day when we witness the birth of a grand vision through the launch of the One-Stop Shop centre. The One-Stop Shop centre would be the gateway for all investors wishing to do business in Zimbabwe. It brings together all key Government departments," he said.
He said the country's investment climate should become the best on the continent as the OSS has been modelled on ideas borrowed from the best practices in Africa including Mauritius, Uganda, Botswana and Rwanda among several countries in Africa.
Under the OSS key institutions such as the Registrar of Companies, Immigration, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Ministry of Labour and the Environmental Management Agency will be housed under one roof.
The Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment would also have a representative at the Zimbabwe Investment Authority to advise on empowerment laws.
In due course, Minister Mashakada said, the one-stop centre would also house tourism and small to medium enterprise development units.
This would result in the streamlining of such processes as company registration, getting construction permits and resident permits, completion of immigration formalities, enhanced aftercare and investment facilitation as well as registration of mining titles, among others.
President Mugabe said that by approving the OSS Government demonstrated its commitment to improving the doing business environment in Zimbabwe to attract more foreign investment.
"Through the Cabinet decision to approve the One-Stop Shop centre the Government sought to improve the doing business environment in Zimbabwe and ultimately have the much needed investment," he said.
Zimbabwe is ranked 158 out of 183 in the 2010 World Bank Doing Business Report and 133 out of 136 countries in the World Economic Forum's Competitiveness Report.