Home » Government » ZIMBABWE GOVT URGED TO FAST-TRACK SETTING UP OF SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES

HARARE, May 1 — A senior government official has urged the Zimbabwe government to speed up the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to help in the process of the country’s industrial revival and economic growth.

Under its five-year economic policy known as the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset), the government has identified the establishment of SEZs as a strategy to boost economic growth and development.

The proposed SEZs are designated geographical areas which will operate under different economic rules from the rest of the economy and the government has identified the country’s second largest city, Bulawayo, as the location for one of the first SEZs to be established in the country.

Economic Planning Ministry Permanent Secretary Dr Desire Sibanda said here Thursday that the government should move swiftly to establish the economic zones. “We have talked a lot about it (establishment of SEZs) and it is now time for action,” he added.

“The budget presented by Minister of Finance (Patrick) Chinamasa actually gives us a deadline to have put in place the SEZ Act by mid-year,” said Sibanda, who noted that without the enabling Act, it would be difficult to attract investors.

“So we hope by the time of the deadline, we would have put the Act together,” he said.

Analysts have commended Zimbabwe for initiating the process to establish SEZs, saying these would assist in improving the investment climate. African countries which have used the SEZ strategy include Mauritius,
Zambia, Algeria, Nigeria and Ethiopia.

The industrila zones, which may be in the form of free trade zones, industrial parks and free zones, can be used as starting points for national development. However, the key challenges faced in most African SEZs include infrastructure, zone management and continuity in instances where governments had changed.

SOURCE: NEW ZIANA

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