SPE­CIAL ECO­NOMIC ZONE BILL PASSED INTO ACT

Swazi Observer - - NATIONAL NEWS -

SE­NA­TORS passed the Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zone Bill 2017 into an Act, with reser­va­tions.

The Bill, which was brought to Se­nate by Min­is­ter of Com­merce, In­dus­try and Trade Jab­u­lani Mabuza, was passed by se­na­tors af­ter a lengthy de­bate.

The se­na­tors, dur­ing the de­bate, each said much as the coun­try needed for­eign in­vestors, the 20-year-tax hol­i­day was still too much and some even said they were scared the coun­try was go­ing back to the times when for­eign in­vestors were given a five-year tax hol­i­day as they could leave on the fourth year.

The se­na­tors wanted to know how gov­ern­ment would make sure that the in­vestors would not leave just be­fore the 20 years elapsed. Se­na­tor Themba Ginindza, who ap­peared very wor­ried when mak­ing his sub­mis­sions, wanted to know if there would be a com­mit­ment fee or a penalty in place for in­vestors who would leave just be­fore the 20-year tax free pe­riod elapsed.

In­vestor

Ginindza said gov­ern­ment had to put an in­stru­ment in place to pro­tect her­self in the event an in­vestor left. “What hap­pens when an in­vestor de­cides on the year just be­fore the 20 years elapses that he is no longer in­ter­ested in in­vest­ing the coun­try? Is there a com­mit­ment fee that they will pay then for­feit if they de­cide to just leave or a penalty fee?” he asked the min­is­ter.

Se­na­tor Moi Moi Masilela won­dered why the min­is­ters who had been in pol­i­tics for a long­time had not prop­erly ad­vised Min­is­ter Mabuza.

Masilela said the coun­try had gone through some­thing sim­i­lar be­fore and now it was left with white ele­phants all over with huge fac­tory shells for sup­posed for­eign in­vestors who would leave on the year their tax free pe­riod elapsed. “Why didn’t the sea­soned min­is­ters cor­rectly ad­vise you?” he won­dered. “Your very min­istry built fac­tory shells that are now empty. I have heard ev­ery­thing you are say­ing now and it was said by the min­is­ter who built fac­tory shells, which are now un­oc­cu­pied,” he said.

Prince Kusa, mak­ing his sub­mis­sion, said gov­ern­ment had a re­spon­si­bil­ity to create jobs for peo­ple but he was not con­vinced that this was the right­ful way to go about it.

“Gov­ern­ment must create jobs for peo­ple but I am not con­vinced that the Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zones are an an­swer to that,” he said. He said there was still need for the min­istry to fine tune the Bill be­fore it could be passed by Se­nate.

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