ZITF: Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Act will be promulgated in June

Enacy Mapakame in BULAWAYO

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THE proposed Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Act will be promulgated in June this year, with three approved pilot projects identified.

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Secretary for Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Dr Desire Mutize Sibanda told business leaders and stakeholders at the 2015 International Business Conference that a new Act would regulate and clearly define the SEZs model.

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The Act will help create confidence among investors, which is common practice in most countries.

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Special economic zones are designated geographical regions which operate under special economic regulations that are different from other areas in the same country.

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They offer special conditions and incentives to promote international competitiveness.

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Three pilot projects, namely: the diamond cutting and polishing in Mutare and Harare; petroleum, chemical and gas production in Lupane; as well as tourism in the resort town of Victora Falls were identified and approved by Cabinet.

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Contrary to the Export Processing Zones that were designed solely for exports, the SEZs are broader with focus in manufacturing of goods, value addition and beneficiation.

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“SEZ should increase foreign direct investment in the country.

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“Subject to the availability of capital and infrastructure, the Government, jointly with development partners and the private sector, will set up industrial parks that qualify for incentives under the SEZ regime.”

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Studies show SEZs have been catalysts of economic growth in developed nations like China, and Zimbabwe could take a cue from this, Dr Sibanda said.

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Other success stories of SEZs are recorded in Malaysia, Mauritius, Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia.

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