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Monday, 10 September 2007

In defence of foreign investors...

Neo Simutanyi writing in The Post raises the prospect of 'ethical' foreign investors who are trying to stay of the right side of the law but are constantly victimised by supposed corrupt Government machinery. I have uploaded Neo's article here. An extract below:

It is most unfortunate that some foreigners have been bundled out of the country unceremoniously on flimsy grounds. The Immigration Department is now being used by Government to fix some foreign investors for reasons that have little to do with their competence. Some of these foreigners have been targeted for deportation either because they are perceived as whistle-blowers or have not cooperated in cutting deals with influential individuals in government.

The Immigration Department, following instructions from the top, has used its ‘powers’ to throw some foreigners out of the country by not awarding them visas, not renewing their self-employment permits or simply by declaring them prohibited immigrants. There are currently several cases in court involving foreign investors contesting the Immigration Department’s decisions not to renew their self-employment permits. But in extreme cases some foreigners have been thrown out without following the due process of the law or the state has simply ignored decisions of the courts. In one instance, a Danish national was deported on the instructions of a Minister simply because of a personal quarrel.

It would appear that the government’s poor administrative and regulatory capacity is being abused with a high-handed approach in the treatment of some foreign investors, who are being used as scapegoats for government’s policy failures. In my view fiscal policy must aim at developing state capacity to collect taxes and regulate economic activities to enable it meet the exigencies of economic development.

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