Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Sukul­wenkosi Dube-Matutu

GOVERN­MENT has gazetted five ar­eas in the coun­try that have been des­ig­nated as Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zones (SEZs) with more ex­pected to be iden­ti­fied soon in a move aimed at pro­mot­ing industrialisation and boost­ing the coun­try’s econ­omy, an of­fi­cial has said.

Speak­ing dur­ing a re­cent Mata­bele­land South pro­vin­cial stake­hold­ers meet­ing in Gwanda, Zim­babwe Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zones Author­ity (Zim­seza) tech­ni­cal head, Mr Wil­fred Motsi, said Beit­bridge Town in Mata­bele­land South, Bu­l­awayo, Vic­to­ria Falls, Sun­way City in Harare and Fern Hill in Mutare were gazetted as Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zones in Septem­ber. Masvingo’s Tugwi Mukosi has also been iden­ti­fied as a SEZ.

He fur­ther said 106 hectares of land has been gazetted in Beit­bridge and urged stake­hold­ers to iden­tify two more dis­tricts within the prov­ince.

“Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zones were gazetted in five ar­eas in Septem­ber in a move that is meant to bring eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in the coun­try. Our aim is to es­tab­lish SEZs where ex­port and other re­lated in­dus­trial ac­tiv­i­ties will take place and then also at­tract in­vestors in those SEZs,” said Mr Motsi.

“We want to en­sure that the coun­try re­alises an in­creased flow of for­eign cur­rency and lo­cal in­vest­ment, em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, in­creased in­vest­ments and ex­ports, SMEs link­ages and value ad­di­tion. As Zim­seza we are call­ing for industrialisation in the coun­try.”

Mr Motsi said the pur­pose of their visit to Mata­bele­land South was to fa­cil­i­tate for­mu­la­tion of an ac­tion plan.

“We are in Mata­bele­land South prov­ince to help for­mu­late and im­ple­ment an ac­tion plan for the Beit­bridge SEZ. At the mo­ment we are hold­ing stake­holder con­sul­ta­tion meet­ings. From here we will for­mu­late an ac­tion plan, con­duct a fea­si­bil­ity study and de­velop a con­cept master plan, which will be fol­lowed by a de­tailed ac­tual master plan. Once the master plan is there we will pro­duce a doc­u­ment that we will use to at­tract de­vel­op­ers and in­vestors,” he said.

“As Zim­seza we are the tech­ni­cal part­ner while stake­hold­ers in the prov­ince are the cus­to­di­ans or own­ers of the zone. Beit­bridge is a strate­gic town to have a SEZ as it’s a border town. Musina in South Africa has a SEZ and we also want to have that com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage to bring in in­vestors.”

Mr Motsi said they had re­ceived in­quiries from a num­ber of po­ten­tial in­vestors wish­ing to in­vest in the Beit­bridge SEZ. He said de­vel­op­ment of the Beit­bridge SEZ was ex­pected to start early next year. Mr Motsi said in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in Beit­bridge in­cluded con­struc­tion of a world class in­ter­na­tional air­port, coal, gold and di­a­mond min­ing as well as pro­cess­ing, class man­u­fac­tur­ing, cit­rus fruit pro­cess­ing and bonded ware­houses con­struc­tion among oth­ers. Speak­ing dur­ing the same meet­ing, Mata­bele­land South Min­is­ter of State for Pro­vin­cial Af­fairs, Abed­nico Ncube, urged stake­hold­ers to play an ac­tive part in or­der to make the SEZs a suc­cess.

“This con­cept re­quires a multi stake­holder ap­proach in or­der to be suc­cess­ful. We have to sell our prov­ince and its eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties in the best way pos­si­ble in or­der to at­tract in­vestors. This ini­tia­tive will cre­ate em­ploy­ment and bring huge de­vel­op­ment to the prov­ince,” he said.

“With the con­cept of de­vo­lu­tion of power com­ing into ef­fect, we have the re­spon­si­bil­ity of de­vel­op­ing our own area. This de­vel­op­ment isn’t only for Beit­bridge or the other dis­tricts that will be iden­ti­fied as SEZs but it will spread through­out the prov­ince.”

Beit­bridge Town sec­re­tary, Mr Loud Ra­mak­gap­ola, said the Beit­bridge SEZ was an ini­tia­tive that would go a long way to­wards de­vel­op­ing the border town. The SEZs Act was signed into law in Oc­to­ber 2016 while the Zim­seza board of di­rec­tors was ap­pointed in June 2017. Zim­seza’s vi­sion is for the coun­try to have a vi­brant mid­dle in­come econ­omy by 2030 with SEZs play­ing a key role. — @DubeMatutu

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