By Ndafadza Madanha
THE much-touted Special Economic Zones (SEZs) will roll out soon with the publication of regulations and incentive packages expected to be gazetted this week.
Addressing members of the media today Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) chairman Gideon Gono said the SEZs are expected to spur economic growth.
“We are now ready to roll. It means by the end of this week, the regulations and incentive packages will be gazette and once gazette, we can start approving projects, we can begin declaring areas, cities and towns as SEZs. The government has publicized its desire for SEZ status for Sunway City here in Msasa/Ruwa, Victoria Falls, Bulawayo and recently Mutare and Norton.
We will now, after gazetting the regulations and incentives this week, request investors in these places to submit specific projects that speak to the exact location of their proposed factories, business plans with projections of exports generation or level of import substitution, employment, creation, technology transfers and introductions, proposed linkages with local industries and implementation timetables.
We will look at other attributes such as proximity to raw materials or markets, road rail or air networks, waste management programs, power and water availability, proximity to labour markets and other amenities”.
He said the delay in gazetting the regulations had affected roll out of SEZs that were approved by the board.
“We approved the SEZ for ZISCO last year but the investor could not come in because the regulations and incentive were not in place so equipment could not be brought in place because there was no certificate of exemption in place,” said Gono.
He said the SEZA will set up a one-stop shop in all SEZs to enable smooth processing of investor applications.
The SEZs are expected to attract foreign direct investment as well as create employment.
SEZs have proliferated in Africa in recent years with such countries as SA, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda embracing the concept.