Home » Government » ZIMBABWE WON’T RUSH INTO SETTING UP SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES, SAYS INDUSTRY MINISTER

HARARE, March 16 — The Zimbabwe government will not rush into establishing special economic zones (SEZs) as it wants to conduct thorough investigations and consultations on the best way to proceed, says Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha.

Establishment of the SEZs had been singled out as one of the solutions to promoting the inflow of scarce foreign direct investment (FDI) to Zimbabwe and Bimha said here Wednesday that a concept paper and a roadmap towards setting up the zones had been established, with stakeholder consultations currently underway.

“We do not have to come up with a rushed type of exercise. We need to consult more,” he said. “An SEZs concept paper is now in place and a roadmap, which will lead towards the operationalization of the concept, has now been developed.”

Bimha said no decision had been made yet on the type of SEZs the country would have. “That will come out of the consultations. The government alone cannot decide,” he said.

The zones envisaged include free trade zones (FTZs) and export processing zones (EPZs) and free zones and are governed by different laws from those applicable to the rest of the economy.

Once finalised, Bimha said, the concept paper would be presented to the Cabinet. No time line has been set, he said

The government has already dispatched teams to countries such as Uganda and was also learning from experiences in China where SEZs have been successfully established.

Encouragement to establish the zones has come from regional organizations such as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) which have funds amounting to more than 36 billion US dollars from international investors targeted for investment only in SEZs.

Some analysts have, however, warned that the SEZs, which have been largely unsuccessful in most countries, would not be a panacea to the country’s investment woes.

SOURCE: NEW ZIANA

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