‘Remove red tape on youth projects’

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THE Zimbabwe Youths Development Trust has called on Government to speed up authorisation of youth business projects as well as removing the red tape stalling their implementation.
Youths constitute more than 70 percent of the total population and have been the major drivers of the country’s entrepreneurship projects.
Speaking during a National Press Club meeting, ZYDT president Aaron Mupandawana said delays by Government ministries to approve youth investments was hindering developmental projects in the country.
He said the slowness by Government in approving some youth projects was turning away potential investors who are ready to help the country revive its economy.
“Some of the youths are not seeking funds from Government just approval to implement various life transforming projects.
“We are disappointed by the amount of time being taken to make decisions (with regards to projects) by all sectors of the Government, a behaviour that is discouraging some investors coming to Zimbabwe who have shown interest in supporting youth projects,” said Mupandawana.
“It has now become a norm that Government takes its time to make decisions towards certain ventures. We appeal to Government to do away with these delays,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) recently told The Patriot that it is set to launch the digital One Stop Shop Investment Centre (OSS) in a bid to increase efficiency on investors’ application process and communication with other Government departments.
The investment One Stop Shop that was launched in 2010 has greatly reduced time taken for approvals from around 49 days to five.
However, the system is not fully operational as Government departments have seconded officers to the OSS who do not have decision-making powers especially the authority to issue licences, but only facilitate the process.
ZIA chief executive officer, Richard Mbaiwa said the digitalisation of the investment centre would ease delays between investors and other Government departments in seeking approval of projects.
He said the digitalisation process is in keeping with the e-government concept, adding that the authority will work closely with Government departments.
But lack of power to make certain decisions by the Government officials seconded to ZIA threatened the desired smooth-flow of business.
ZIA said most officers representing various Government departments at ZIA had to refer back to their superiors, a process that was delaying the registration of investors.
Mupandawana said there were a lot of investors who wanted to fund youth development projects but became skeptical after being shunted from one office to another or experienced the ‘unrealistic’ delays.
“We are not looking for funds from the Government as we understand that our national coffers are not adequate to finance our projects,” he said.
“We have managed to attract a lot of investors outside the country in different sectors of the economy; we are only waiting for the Government to grant us authority to execute our proposed projects.”
He said the delays in approving projects prejudiced communities that stood to benefit from the various initiatives yet to be implemented.
“It is not supposed to be difficult to receive support from Government to carry out developmental projects,” he said.
“Youth are complying with investment regulations and our investors have also shown us their commitment to comply with the laws of the country in supporting us,” said Mupandawana.
ZYDT is still waiting for approval to construct the Harare-Chitungwiza railway line.
Mupandawana said the organisation had found a Chinese investor who was willing to finance the project.
“We have managed to source an investor for our railway project and the Chinese partner is ready to start infrastructural development for the route,” he said.
“The only delaying factor is approval from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development.”
He said if implemented, the railway line project will give life to the Zimbabwe Youth Development Bank that failed to take off last year after its proposed capitalisation deal with Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation collapsed.
The bank was meant to provide microfinance solutions to youth-led start-ups and existing businesses countrywide.
“The Chinese investor has also shown interest in the establishment of the bank,” he said.
“Our plan is to capitalise the bank through proceeds from the railway operations, hence, the project will create more funding for other youth projects through the bank.”

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