Tendai Mugabe Herald Reporter—
GOVERNMENT should now walk the talk on corruption and ruthlessly punish those found on the wrong side of the law regardless of their positions or social standing, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.VP Mnangagwa said the Office of the President and Cabinet had taken over the supervision of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission from Home Affairs after the realisation that ministers tended to avoid investigating each other.
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The VP, who is also the Minister responsible for Justice and Legal Affairs portfolio, said this while officially opening a symposium on the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe organised by the Office of the President and Cabinet and Zimpapers.
He said Government had also operationalised the National Code of Corporate Governance to give impetus to the fight against corruption. His remarks come in the wake of a litany of corrupt activities rocking the power utility Zesa and many other State entities.
“As I have consistently emphasised, it is high time we walk the talk against corruption and ensure that those found on the wrong side of the law are ruthlessly punished, irrespective of their positions or standing.
“I would like to point out that the fight against corruption must be broad-based and within the framework of a national call to all Zimbabweans, and all sectors to fight this evil scourge.
“Government has come up with a National Code of Corporate Governance (and) the code has provided additional impetus for Government to review critical pieces of legislation in order to ensure that there is broad legislative framework and measures to tackle issues of corruption, which have become cancerous in our efforts to grow the economy.
“I may also inform you that the Anti-Corruption Commission was housed for administration in the Ministry of Home Affairs, we have since removed it from there because we felt that in Home Affairs ministers are shy to investigate each other. We have now removed it from there and is now housed in the Office of the President and Cabinet. You should understand what that means,” he said.
VP Mnangagwa said the country was bequeathed with vast natural resources and incredible human capital needed for business operations. He said reforms being undertaken by Government in the ease of doing business showed its commitment towards empowerment of entrepreneurial spirit among citizens.
Said VP Mnangagwa: “This coupled with a renewed commitment to tackle issues of corporate governance in the public sector which has resulted in the fast-tracking of corporate governance measures to ensure that our public sector, especially the parastatal and State enterprises sector, will, once again, contribute to the growth of the economy.”
He said the challenges facing the economy required new knowledge and skills underpinned on innovation and embracing of ICTs. VP Mnagagwa said it was important for Government to create new platforms to interact with stakeholders with a view to add value and beneficiate the country’s abundant resources and benchmark the country’s performance with its regional and global competitors.
He said Government should increase the reform momentum bearing in mind that “capital goes where the environment is favourable”.
As part of ensuring the ease of doing business and elevating the country’s competitiveness, VP Mnangagwa said: “Government is also implementing an e-Government platform in order to re-engineer and modernise the public sector systems and processes to improve access, efficiency, and affordable services to the people using ICTs.
“It is hoped that such measures will greatly facilitate the registration of those entrepreneurs operating in the informal sector, who may have been previously intimidated by the raft of procedures and fees. We believe that formalization will enable small businesses to benefit from loans, access to tenders and will also enable payment of taxes.”
VP Mnangagwa said the first 100 days review workshop on ease of doing business held in December last year highlighted that a review of laws, regulations and licensing requirements and other administrative hiccups to private entrepreneurship had been undertaken.
He said the second 100 day rapid results initiative was launched in February this year and benchmarks were reviewed last Tuesday and significant milestones have been registered both legislatively and administratively.
The symposium was also attended by Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha, Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni and several business executives.