By Tendai Sahondo
Government is pressing on with plans to set up a robust Offshore Financial Services Centre (OFSC) in the country, finance and economic development minister, Mthuli Ncube has said.
Presenting the mid-term review last week, Ncube said the country stands to benefit immensely from the venture as it will attract investment from across the globe.
“Government has been exploring the possibility of setting up an Offshore Financial Services Centre (OFSC) as part of efforts to develop the financial service sector, through provision of opportunities for global investment.
“ A lot of research has to date been carried out, which reveal that offshore financial service centres promote foreign direct investment, domestic investment, export development and promotion and national branding, among others,” he said.
Ncube said Zimbabwe is well positioned to host an OFSC given its accessibility and connectivity.
“Zimbabwe is strategically located to host a regional and international financial hub, given its accessibility and good connectivity, which are some of the attributes necessary for successful setting up of an OFSC,” he said adding that the adoption of a local currency is also a positive step towards attaining a stable currency, to attract investors.
However, he said the country would have to implement a cocktail of economic and financial reforms before moving to set up the highly anticipated centre.
“Implementation of an OFSC should be preceded by introduction of a number of economic reforms to promote efficient functioning of the financial system.
“In order to nurture confidence in the financial services sector, thereby attracting the much needed investment, establishing an OFSC is a guaranteed milestone towards achieving this,” he said.
Economies that have successfully embraced and benefitted from the setting up of OFSCs regionally and internationally include Mauritius, the Cape Verde, Kazakhstan and Switzerland, among others.
These countries have grown to become financial hubs attracting a lot of investment. The financial services centres in the countries cited above were set up over periods ranging from three to fifteen years.