SEZ programme favours foreign investors

SEZ programme favours foreign investors
Published: 04 July 2017
THE Special Economic Zones (SEZs) law favours foreign investors compared to local ones, out-going Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) president, Davison Norupiri has lamented.

Norupiri told Macro-economic Planning and Investment Promotion minister Obert Mpofu at the ZNCC annual congress held in Victoria Falls last week that local investors were unhappy about SEZs' benefits, as they favoured foreign investors.

"As business, we have got a few issues and a few concerns as far as special economic zones are concerned. We have seen the promulgation of SI (Statutory Instrument) 59 of 2017, which has got some benefits on the special economic zones and, as business, we are very happy about them," he said.

"They actually attract investment. Before that, the minister of Finance came up with some benefits as far as special economic zones are concerned and according to the benefits, which were in the budget of the minister of Finance, they favour foreigners.

"They are only for foreign investors and they are not favourable to local investors and it's an issue, which we feel that, minister, if it's possible, your local investors would also want to invest in special economic zones and we, therefore, plead with and ask government if they can also intervene on that".

Norupiri urged the government to also declare Manicaland a SEZ, particularly Chipinge, considering its geographical location.

He said Chipinge had products such as coffee, tea and timber, which could be exported and bring in foreign currency.

"Coming back to the issue of benefits, we are not seeing the seriousness in terms of benefits. I know, minister, you are running with this flat out, but looking at where we are now, there are quite a number of structures that are already coming out in terms of building in special economic zones and the issue of utilities, which have been highlighted," Norupiri said.

"For example, in Sunway City, there is no water at all.

"Since it is a special economic zone, we also expect the government to prioritise special economic zones in terms of utilities. We are also seeing quite a number of structures, which we feel are substandard, which are mushrooming in the special economic zones areas.

"If this continues it will be difficult for you to control them because they would have title deeds and they may have invested a lot in terms of whatever they are doing there. So we also expect this to be state-of-art structures."

Mpofu said the Gideon Gono-led board would recommend additional incentives, which would also apply in the SEZs and would be soon gazetted through a statutory instrument.

He said these incentives were classified into fiscal, non-fiscal, monetary incentives, as well as incentives for SEZ developers.

"I invite you to participate in promoting these SEZs to potential developers and operators both domestically and internationally. Your government is encouraging you to invest not only as individual, but as syndicates and international investors," Mpofu said.
- newsday
Tags: SEZ, Investors, Foreign,


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