RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono has called on government to remedy Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (Bippas) disrupted during the emotive land reform stage and to speed up the issuing of 99-year lease
s on land to lure investors and skilled farmers back.
In his monetary policy review yesterday, Gono called on government to correct the Bippas that were inadvertently infringed upon during the chaotic land reform programme.
He said the RBZ had called upon the relevant authorities in government “to open up a new progressive chapter of investment promotion through signing Bippas with friendly regional and international business partners, as well as remedying those Bippas which were inadvertently infringed upon during the emotive stage of the land reform programme”, Gono said.
He said all arms of government should work towards rectification of all residual Bippa infringements.
“We urge all arms of government to ensure that the leadership’s vision of mutual cohesion with our investor community is nurtured and turned into reality,” he said.
This call, which he also made in his last statement in May, appears to have fallen on deaf ears as government has continued to expropriate land and is currently causing mayhem on properties in the southeast Lowveld.
Gono said as part of laying a firm foundation for a sound take-off in agriculture, it was imperative that the issue of land tenure be brought to finality with due implementation of government’s policy of 99-year leases on all re-allocated land.
“We continue to call for the urgent implementation of this critical pillar, as this is an indispensable prerequisite for the financial sector to play a meaningful supportive role in agriculture,” Gono said.
More than 300 Bippa-protected ventures were forced to close shop over the past five years following invasions of their properties by war veterans and ruling party supporters.
The majority of the Bippas were ratified by the Zimbabwe government. Virtually all Bippa-protected ventures were involved in the production of export produce with the majority of them exporting flowers.
Attack on such enterprises strained business relations between Zimbabwe and the international community.