Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
A LEADING Chinese gas manufacturer, Chingases Company Limited, plans to set up a $15 million plant in Bulawayo under the Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
The company, which is presently operating in Zambia, produces industrial, medical and domestic gases such as oxygen, acetylene, nitrogen and Liquid Petroleum Gas (LP Gas).
In an interview with journalists after a breakfast meeting on SEZs in Bulawayo yesterday, Chingases managing director Mr John Zhang said they were looking at an initial investment of $5 million to set up the plant in Bulawayo.
“Once we put the investment, we will put three units – one for oxygen for both medical and industry and nitrogen and compressed air, the second unit will be for acetylene, which is used for cutting and welding and the third unit will be an LPG filling station both for industrial and domestic use,” he said.
“We are looking for a suitable industrial space for the plant in Bulawayo, which must be between two and three hectares. Our investment in the first phase will be $5 million and the maximum comes up to $15 million.”
If established, it is hoped that the plant would have the capacity to employ at least 100 people directly.
Mr Zhang said the success of their gas project in Bulawayo was also heavily dependent on the incentives to be offered under the SEZs initiative.
The Government has come up with a host of fiscal incentives that were gazetted in the Finance Act of 2017, which among others include zero-rated corporate income tax for the first five years of operation with a corporate tax rate of 15 percent applying thereafter, duty-free importation on capital equipment, zero-rated capital gains tax and an exemption from non-residents tax on fees for services that are not locally available.
Meanwhile, the Government will in the next two weeks gazette investor incentives and regulations expected to guide the functioning of the Zimbabwe Special Economic Zones Authority (ZimSEZA), successfully bringing it into full operation.
In June 2017, the Government appointed the ZimSEZA board, which is chaired by former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono, but the Authority is yet to become fully operational. It believed that once the regulations and incentives (specifically the non-fiscal incentives) are promulgated, the ZimSEZA would begin approving projects that were on hold.