Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has called on companies seeking investors to partner with under the Special Economic Zones concept to register with the Zimbabwe Investment Authority.
In 2016, the Government promulgated the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Act. Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are designated geographical regions that operate under special economic regulations that are different from other areas in the same country.
The country adopted the SEZs model as part of efforts to expedite economic growth by offering special conditions and incentives to enhance international competitiveness.
CZI national vice president Mr Sifelani Jabangwe said in an interview that local companies scouting for potential investors in the designated areas were required to register with ZIA. “ZIA is now working to guide investments for SEZs and we’re urging local companies to approach and register with the authority if they intend to find potential investors,” he said. Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Mutare, Harare and Matabeleland South are some of the areas that the Government has designated for SEZs.
Asked about the potential that the country has in attracting investors under the SEZs concept, Mr Jabangwe said: “The country stands ready to attract investments under the SEZs. This is premised on the improved investor-friendly environment ZIA and other stakeholders have created.”
The Office of the President and Cabinet is coordinating the Ease of Doing Business process with a view to improve the business and investment climate in the country.
This is in conformity with the accelerated implementation of the Zim-Asset and the 10-Point Plan, in order to promote growth of the economy. The doing business reforms were being implemented based on thematic areas namely starting a business and protecting minority investors, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency, getting credit, paying taxes and trading across borders, and construction permits and registering property.
In preparation for the SEZs, the Government last year conducted a series of workshops in different parts of the country trying to conscientise different stakeholders about the initiative.
At one of the workshops conducted in Bulawayo last year, an expert on SEZ from Japan, Professor Motoyoshi Suzuki, urged the country to prioritise Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as the sector is key to the successful implementation of Special Economic Zones. China, Japan, Kenya, Brazil and Zambia are some of the countries that have implemented the SEZs initiative.