Home » Business » PRESIDENT MUGABE GIVES CONSENT TO SEZS BILL

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has signed into law the Special Economic Zones Act after earlier refusing consent for containing clauses which violate workers' rights.

The new law is part of a raft of measures the government is implementing to lure foreign direct investment (FDI), one of the few means through which the country is currently earning foreign currency.

Zimbabwe has in the past few years recorded a dearth in FDI as cautious investors adopt a wait and see approach over perceived political and economic instability.

The coming into law of the Special Economic Zones Act and establishment of special economic zones (SEZs), which give investors a host of incentives, not applicable to the rest of the economy, is seen as a major lure.

"Today, the President (Mugabe) signed the Special Economic Zones Act which is going to be the basis of all the work we are going to be doing," Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda told journalists here Monday.

Dr Sibanda spoke as President Mugabe had concluded a meeting with a delegation from China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) which is assisting Zimbabwe in the setting up of the SEZs.

Japan has also been providing similar support in setting up the zones. The government has so far identified three SEZs -- at Sunway City in Harare, the Bulawayo industrial hub and the Victoria Falls financial hub.

"We will be implementing the special economic zones, first with Sunway City then Victoria Falls then the Bulawayo industrial hub," said Dr Sibanda.

President Mugabe last month refused to sign into law the SEZ Bill after expressing reservations on clauses that sought to suspend enforcement of the Labour Act in the special economic zones which could expose workers to abuse.

This resulted in the Bill being referred back to Parliament to go through the amendments. Parliament, through both the National Assembly and the Senate had to urgently make the necessary amendments sending back the law to President Mugabe for final approval.

Meanwhile, the head of the delegation of the NDRC to Zimbabwe, Fan Hengshan, said they were in the country to ensure implementation of agreements on SEZs signed as part of broader deals between China and Zimbabwe in December last year.

The delegation is made up of 20 people, eight from the NDRC and 12 business executives from the Chinese province of Gansu scouting for investment opportunities.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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