Times of Zambia, 17th April 2003

THE Zambia Investment Centre (ZIC) says there is need to harmonise operations of conflicting investment regulations to enhance the inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI).

ZIC project development manager Richard Chavula said in Lusaka yesterday that there were conflicting areas in pieces of legislation under which various regulatory sectors in Zambia operated and these were impacting negatively on the FDI regime.

Speaking at the Consumer Unit Trust Society (CUTS) workshop on ‘foreign direct investment policy and practices in Zambia’ at Taj Pamodzi Hotel, Mr Chavula said the conflicting area presented themselves as negative factors that adversely affected FDI.

He said because of these factors, investment implementation was rendered burden some and the country as a whole became less attractive to FDI.

A part from conflicting pieces of legislation, other negative factors to FDI include duration of processing permits and lack of appreciation of each other’s pieces of legislation by all sector regulators.

Mr Chavula said sector regulators could work together to improve the FDI regime by putting in place measures that would identify conflicting of the Acts under which they operated.

The sector regulators could then harmonise, streamline and synchronise all aspects of investment procedural requirements.

And CUTS associate researcher Eric Kalimukwa said Zambian investment process was uncoordinated.

Mr Kalimukwa said the country did not have a clearly defined investment policy and what existed as a policy was just a set of fiscal measures for new investors.

He said the Zambian investment policy was inadequate and required transformation as in its current state, it was not clear as to whether the policy was sufficient enough to attract FDI.

Mr Kalimukwa observed that it had been difficult to discern what levels of FDI had come to Zambia especially that information obtained from the ZIC showed more of investment pledges and commitments.

But Mr Chavula said there was room for improvement as evidenced from the various statutory bodies of sector regulators set up by Government and enacting of laws all aimed at improving the FDI regime in Zambia.

“The setting up of these institutions is meant to enhance the investment climate and make it more conductive and responsive to the attraction of FDI as well as ensuring that national social, economic and political interests are safeguarded,” Mr Chavula said.

The workshop was called to brainstorm on sharing insights on how best to contribute to the debate on FDI and improve the overall development in Zambia.