By Daniel Chigundu
SPECIAL Economic Zones (SEZ) board chairman Gideon Gono says his institution is more of a flying object as there is no clarity as to which ministry they report to and have no offices, budget and secretariat, a year after their appointment.
The idea behind SEZ was mooted as a way of trying to boost foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country and to help industrialise certain parts of which were a bit marginalised in terms of development.
Currently, Sunnyway City in Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls are said to have been designated as SEZ by the Office of President and Cabinet who piloted the project before the appointment of the board.
Appearing before a Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, Gono said there has not been any progress and are having to use their personal resources to run the institution.
“We are a flying object, we don’t know whether we belong to Ministry of Finance or Ministry of Industry and until that is determined we will remain where we are.
“We have no chief executive officer or a secretariat, we did the interviews as required by the law and submitted our recommended candidates to the government for appointment but nothing has been done and because other members of the board are fully employed elsewhere, they look up to the chairman to do most of the secretarial work.
“We have no offices, sometimes we meet in the boardroom of what used to be the Ministry of Micro and Economic Planning, but when we are meeting with investors or when they want to submit their proposals we use my personal office,” he said.
The former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor added that the Special Economic Zones have the ability to address most of the economic challenges being experienced in the economy especially the liquidity challenges.
According to Gono if decisions regarding their operations are quickly made, his institution can help turn the country’s economy.
“The ZES will help turn the economy around if decisions are made expeditiously, but there are some decisions which are still beyond our board but we will do our best.
“We have written to various ministries asking whether we belong to them or not, we hope there will be round robin consultations to determine where we belong.
“The Act does not help much in determining our parent ministry it only mentions that we report to the ministry but does not mention the ministry or specify it,” he said.