By Felex Share
The visiting Chinese delegation from the National Reform and Development Commission (NRDC) yesterday met Government officials and representatives from the country’s three Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to work on ways to expeditiously activate the designated zones that are widely expected to grow the economy.
The Chinese are on a study tour which they will also use to train locals and share experiences on SEZs.
As part of efforts to lure investors and revive ailing industries, Zimbabwe has set up SEZs in Harare (Sunway City), Bulawayo and Victoria Falls.
Speaking after presentations to the Chinese delegation from representatives from the economic zones, senior principal director in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) Mr Ozias Hove said expertise from China could be tapped to advance the country’s thrust on investment-led growth.
He said a one-stop shop investment centre being worked on by Government would be vital in luring investors.
“This is the second day of their visit and we are now elaborating on Special Economic Zones as we designed them ourselves,” he said. “This is a review we are doing on Special Economic Zones and we are giving them updates of what has happened since their last visit. In doing so, we take cognisance of the fact that Cabinet has already decided on the rationalisation of institutions dealing with investments,” said Mr Hove.
“We are talking here of the Zimbabwe Investment Authority, Zimbabwe Special Economic Zones Authority, and the State Enterprise Reform Authority. The ultimate purpose, with the assistance of NRDC, is to establish a one-stop shop investment centre. When investors come, they don’t have to go from one ministry to another to get facilitation issues done. It will be done at one place.”
Mr Hove added: “They are a reform institution and they will assist us achieve that reform objective. As for our Special Economic Zones, we have been monitoring them to ensure that they move with speed. Where there are problems, they present them to us and we solve them quickly because we want to be open for business.”
He said private players in the SEZs would rip profits from their investments.
“They will get a return on their investment. SEZs will assist achieve national policy objectives. We want economic growth and employment and economic zones are known to be quick contributors to national development.”
Special Economic Zones Authority (seza) board chairman Dr Gideon Gono also attended the meeting.
The NRDC team is led by Madam Song Gongmei, its deputy director-general.
The commission is credited for the dynamic and far-reaching reforms which have taken place in China.
On Sunday, the delegation met Vice President Retired General Dr Constantino Chiwenga at his Munhumutapa offices in Harare, before signing an agreement with the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda, on the skills capacitation programme.