Dumisani Nsingo Senior Business Reporter
GOVERNMENT remains committed in protecting investments that fall under Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPAs) as it forges ahead to attract foreign direct investment into the country, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister, Dr Obert Mpofu, said BIPPAs were a crucial component in the economy that should not be tampered with.
BIPPAs are agreements between governments of two countries that facilitate reciprocal promotion and protection of investments in each other’s territories by individuals and companies situated in either State.
They provide treaty based protection to foreign investment. “We are very sensitive to addressing the issues of BIPPAs. Where they (BIPPAs) genuinely meet the criteria we will assist them (investors under BIPPAs) to sustain and maintain their status but where there are some areas where their status is not very clear that’s when we start liaising with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement when it comes to land,” said Dr Mpofu in an interview.
“That’s how we are working but we are addressing those in a manner that is not antagonistic.” He said his ministry was handling a few issues related to the status of certain BIPPAs.
“We have had a few issues that we are addressing, a few queries here and there involving especially the horticulture sector. We are dealing with that liaising with the Ministry of Lands and even with that of Foreign Affairs but the engagements have been quite progressive.
“We have been talking to the Italians on some assets that they feel fall under BIPPAs and its being well addressed and we are going to deal with any other inquiries that need to be addressed,” said Dr Mpofu.
He, however, said there were incidence where there is no clear documentation to determine or support the status and ownership of particular assets.
“There are some areas where we don’t have enough information and documentation thus we first start by establishing just to allow for an amicable addressing of the situation that finds itself in that type of category,” said Dr Mpofu.
BIPPAs are now instrumental in giving safety and mutual trust simultaneously for cross national investors. Though the BIPPAs are signed by governments, the beneficiaries are business entities. Investment protection is given for investment by companies in other countries.