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World Bank Says Zimbabwe Still Difficult Place to Do Business

Despite the formation of an inclusive government in 2009 and the establishment of a one-stop investment center, Zimbabwe remains one of the most difficult places to conduct business compared to 183 other nations.

According to the World Bank’s latest report on doing business globally, Zimbabwe was this year ranked 171 out of 181 countries – three places down from 168 in 2011.

The bank said some of the difficulties are caused by serious challenges in business power connectivity, delays in the issuing of construction permits and intricate procedures in getting credit information.

It takes about 125 days to get electricity connection and at least 614 days to deal with construction permits in Zimbabwe, a situation which is viewed as not being business friendly.

The country scored highly in the collection of taxes and legal rights index.

Bulawayo businessman Bulisani Ncube said doing business in Zimbabwe is further complicated by corruption in state corridors.

Economist John Robertson concurred, adding that political tension in Zimbabwe promotes bad government and business procedures.

The ‘Doing Business’ analysis provides qualitative measures of regulations for starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.

According to the World Bank, policy makers often keep an eye on relative rankings that compare economies at a point in time. In the past six years, policy makers in 163 economies made domestic regulations more business friendly.

The bank said they lowered barriers to entry, operation and exit and strengthened protections of property and investor rights.

“Only a few economies moved in the opposite direction … Venezuela and Zimbabwe went the furthest in making business regulation less business-friendly,” it said.