The Sunday News
Chrispen Gumunyu, Business Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Special Economic Zones Authority (Zimseza) is working on designating more areas as Special Economic Zones (SEZs) as it moves to attract potential investors to turn around the country’s economic fortunes.
Zimseza chief executive officer Mr Edwin Kondo said the authority has started identifying areas with potential of being designated as SEZs in provinces, which had not been initially considered for the process.
“In light of the spirit of devolution we are in consultations with Mashonaland East, West, Central, Midlands and Masvingo Provincial Affairs Ministers’ offices to identify potential areas for designation as SEZs. This process will require the setting up of technical working groups for each province and the development of concept master plans as well as pre-feasibility studies for each zone. Thus enabling us to come up with a demand and financial analysis for each zone, clearly showing the investment that is required for each zone,” he said.
Two years ago the Government designated six zones as SEZs namely Bulawayo, Beitbridge, Harare-Sunway City, Victoria Falls and Mutare-Fernhill.
“The Beitbridge, Mutare, Victoria Falls and Bulawayo Special Economic Zones are all at implementation stage and technical working groups (steering committees) for each zone have been set up with the intention to develop realistic and achievable implementation plans,” said Mr Kondo.
He said the authority was in consultation with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to secure funding for infrastructural development in the SEZs. He said benefits of SEZs would start being realised in the long run.
“It is key to note that special economic zones are long term in nature and do not have immediate short term results as there is a lot of work that has to be done at inception stage before a zone may become fully operational,” said Mr Kondo.
A SEZ is a geographical region that has economic laws that are more free-market-oriented than a country’s typical or national laws. Nationwide laws may be suspended inside a special economic zone.
The category “SEZ” covers a broad range of more specific zone types, including Free Trade Zones, Export Processing Zones, Free Zones, Industrial Estates, Free Ports and Urban Enterprise Zones.