Business

Cannabis: New drive to remove bottlenecks

Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency

Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter

The Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) and Ministry of Health and Child Care have crafted a framework for cooperation to reduce hurdles to invest in the cannabis industry.

Under the framework, ZIDA and the ministry will issue a joint licence for production of cannabis, envisaged to be a billion-dollar industry, through ZIDA’s One-Stop Investment Service Centre (OSISC).

This is part of efforts to encourage and speed up investment in a sector which the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development envisages will earn the country up to US$1,25 billion in exports next year.

Cannabis production was legalised in Zimbabwe through Statutory Instrument 62 of 2018 (Dangerous Drugs — Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Scientific Use Regulations) with production solely meant for medicinal purposes.

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The crop is used by pharmaceuticals the world over in the manufacture of drugs and provides Zimbabwe with a potentially huge foreign currency earning export product at a time the Government is targeting to boost and widen the country’s export basket.

In a statement released yesterday — the country’s premier investment agency, ZIDA, advised of the “ease of doing business” measures devised for the sector in line with President Mnangagwa’s drive to promote investment in order to grow the economy to upper middle income status by 2030.

ZIDA said there will neither be discrimination nor reservations in the issuance of licences with both locals and foreign-owned entities allowed to participate.

“In the pursuit of the ease of doing business, The Ministry of Health and Child Care, together with ZIDA, will be issuing a joint license for Cannabis production through ZIDA’s One Stop Investment Centre (OSISC),” said ZIDA in a statement.

“The Government of Zimbabwe allows investors, both local and foreign, to own 100 percent of their cannabis investments and also allows them to perform their farming activities freely, even on private land.

“The protection of such activities are spelt out clearly in the ZIDA Act and there shall be no discrimination between foreign and local investors.

“When a Medicinal Cannabis licence is granted, ZIDA, representing the Government of Zimbabwe shall sign an Investment Stability Agreement (ISA) with the investor. The ISA outlines the incentives and guarantees being offered by the Government of Zimbabwe,” said ZIDA in a statement.

Under the framework, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement will be tasked with the role of actively monitoring seed quality imported by all investors in the production process, following clearly laid out security protocols.

The Medicinal cannabis sector is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, making it highly attractive to capital. In 2019, the industry closed the year with an estimated net worthy of US$16,5 billion globally and this is expected to rise to US$44,4 billion by the end of 2024. Presenting the 2021 National Budget, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli said Zimbabwe will next year introduce a cannabis levy as part of efforts to tap into the fast-growing billion dollar industry.

HERALD

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