Expedite SEZs, CZI tells government

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GOVERNMENT has been urged to expedite the implementation of the special economic zones (SEZs) programme for the benefit of the economy.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries Matabeleland Chapter president, Joseph Gunda told NewsDay in interview that industry has played its role with regards SEZs and government should likewise.

“As far as we are concerned in the chamber in Bulawayo, we have been working. Following the establishment, we have been working together with the technical working group,” Gunda said.

“We have identified factory shells around, spaces that are available and even companies that have been closed, identifying owners and see if they can surrender those to other people who want to invest, either from local or foreign. In addition, we have also looked at broadening the sectors that we believe must be included in the special economic zone.”

He said whilst they have been doing that, they had been pushing government on the other side to get the authority in place.

“It’s one thing putting in a board and law and it’s another getting it to work. On the implementation side, on the government side it’s where we have been waiting for to see the authority can now be established that we can now fully-implement. But most of the ground work we have been doing it,” Gunda said.

Asked when would be the programme kick-start, Gunda said: ‘I would want this to happen yesterday but this is not entirely in our hands. The government must play their part.”

“We read in the papers that now chief executive officers have been identified for the special economic zones but those details are still sketchy. So we need the full details of when they will begin to be functional. We can work for a certain extent but government drives particularly the fully-implementation with the groundwork that we have done already.”

Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Harare’s Sunway City, Mutare and Lupane have been chosen for the SEZ development.

In Bulawayo, the plan is to set up an industrial economic zone covering the beef and leather industry, cotton and textile, steel and foundry industries as well as the rehabilitation of the National Railways of Zimbabwe.