THE Ministry of Finance has launched the National Co-ordination Strategy for the implementation of the Southern Africa Development Community Protocol on Finance and Investment. The FIP is one of the protocols entered into by Sadc member states to give legal and practical effect to their commitments under the Sadc Treaty.
Ministry of Finance deputy director for fiscal policy Mr Jonah Mushayi said the national FIP structure would help co-ordinate national finance strategy with the region's transition into greater financial integration. He was speaking at an FIP awareness workshop in Harare yesterday.
"Zimbabwe has now come up with a FIP co-ordination structure for the effective implementation of the protocol.
"The new structure takes into account the various stakeholders involved and their relevance to the provisions of FIP," he said.
The National FIP Co-ordination Committee's members include organisations such as the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe among others and will be chaired by the Ministry of Finance.
"The committee will receive, consider and consolidate implementation, monitoring, reporting and evaluation of submissions from the sub-committees."
Speaking at the same event, acting secretary in the ministry Mrs Judith Madzorera said implementation of the FIP would enhance trade, investment and the performance of domestic financial sectors in the region.
"The large market so created would permit a high degree of sophistication and specialisation of products conducive to furtherance of modern industrial development.
"Moreover, the possibility of specialisation for regional trade would encourage the flow of investment into industries, which have a comparative cost advantage, so that gains from international trade would rise.
"Furthermore, this will facilitate the realisation of optimum allocation and utilisation of resources, and thus lead to an increase in efficiency," she said.
The workshop also saw the launching of a baseline study on the region's implementation of the Sadc FIP.
The study, which was carried out by the Sadc Secretariat in conjunction with the German Development Co-operation and FinMark Trust shows that notwithstanding the attainment of Sadc Free Trade Area in 2008, the region has not yet achieved the full benefits arising from regional integration.
The study, which was undertaken last year, identified a number of deficiencies that are constraining the effective implementation of FIP in the Zimbabwe.
According to independent consultant Mr Zvinechimwe Churu (who was appointed by Sadc through FinMark Trust to assist in developing an effective FIP implementation framework including its structures), one of Zimbabwe's major weaknesses was the slow implementation of the Protocol that was also a common characteristic in other member states.
Ms Roseline Seleka from the German Development Co-operation, who is also the FIP co-ordinator for
the Sadc Regional Economic Programme, said most of the member states were yet to fully adhere to the FIP.
"Some of the successes that have been achieved are not necessarily a result of the implementation of the FIP, but rather emerge out of some national strategies that a few of the member states have implemented," she said.
Zimbabwe has achieved 40,4 percent of its commitments towards the implementation of the FIP. The only other country that has achieved less is the Democratic Republic of Congo with 30 percent.
The country with the highest achievement is 77,1 percent, with the average progress for the Sadc region at 53,4 percent.