Africa > Southern Africa > Zimbabwe > Govt accelerates SEZs rollout

Zimbabwe: Govt accelerates SEZs rollout

2017/03/07

THE Industry and Commerce ministry will any minute at this time announce the new board for the Appropriate Economic Zones (SEZs), as government speeds up the process expected to attract foreign direct investment into the country.

SEZs are located within a country’s national borders and their aims include: increased trade, increased investment , job creation and effective government.

Speaking at the Relieve of Doing Business Using the Rapid Results Approach end of term review programme, Industry and Commerce secretary Abigail Shonhiwa said the announcement would be made in the “next few days”.

“I’m sure you know that the permit itself has gone through and the structures are being put in place. I’m sure within some days we should hear about the appointment of the board. I know that the issue of incentives and recommendations are actually done, but they need to go through the process and that’s what is being done,” she said.

“There is as well the data, you may as well be aware there are three locations which are going to be allocated as appropriate economic zones which are Sunway City opposite Zimre near Ruwa, Bulawayo and Victoria falls. Those three are going to be our initial. Preliminary work is currently underway and any minute at this time next the announcement of the board will let the people know formally the incentives which will come with that.”

The implementation of SEZs was expected to attract direct investment (FDI) as currently the country has been facing challenges as investors were shunning away from Zimbabwe preferring other African nations.

SEZs are located within a country’s national borders, and their aims include: increased trade, investment , job creation and effective government.

President Robert Mugabe last year signed into law the Appropriate Economic Zones Act.

Speaking at the same event, Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha said the government takes seriously the proposition that have been put forward for SEZs to thrive.

These include the review of the export incentives to price added exports, put in place on export revolving fund to support price-added products, seamless supply of utilities such as electricity and water to exporters and reduction of cost of utilities and streamlining regulatory bottlenecks and numerous fees affecting export business part others.

“I have no doubt that once the proposed policy and regulatory reforms are put in place, the impact of these measures will be realised in the short to medium term,” Bimha said.

Analysts say SEZs will attract FDI that has been evading Zimbabwe over the years due to unfriendly legislations such as the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act, which prescribes that foreign investors should not hold controlling shareholding in firms with a net investment price of at least $500 000.

In 2015, FDI declined to $421 million from $545 million in 2014, which was the highest since the economy embraced a multi-currency regime in 2009.

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