Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
The National Assembly has adopted a motion calling on Government to expedite the creation of Special Economic Zones as part of measures to revive the economy.The motion was moved by Chegutu West representative Cde Dexter Nduna last week. He called on Government to urgently bring a Bill to Parliament that will establish SEZs.
In his remarks following the adoption of the motion, Cde Nduna urged Government to provide incentives that would attract Foreign Direct Investment.
“The incentives that can be proffered for those investors include 100 percent tax exemption for the first five years then 15 percent thereafter, 100 percent foreign ownership of companies operating in free trade zones or SEZs, 100 percent repatriation of capital, profits and the duty-free importation of capital goods and raw materials, hustle free licensing procedures and business facilitation,” he said.
Responding to the debate, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said Cabinet was considering various options to establish SEZs.
“Last year, my ministry put a paper to Cabinet, basically to try to define this concept with a view that Cabinet should choose the option that they think is most relevant to our economic situation.
“We can have an option where we say we have a geographical area and we say everyone in this geographical area; the geographical area constitutes a Special Economic Zone. We then apply or give all the incentives that we want in order to locate any investor into that geographical area.
“Another option is that we identify as a country which products we think we have competitive advantage and this could arise from the fact that these products are produced in our country or we have developed expertise to produce world quality products,” Minister Chinamasa said.
Minister Chinamasa said Zimbabwe could also take advantage of its educated population to export expertise to various countries.
“Another option is to look at our comparative advantage as a country, an educated population, a skilled population and therefore, to emphasise the knowledge based industries in education, insurance and financing.
“Therefore, mobilise all the necessary resources and factors necessary to be able to be world-class producers of engineers and accountants which we can export in terms of expertise and services regionally and also globally,” he said.
Government’s economic blueprint, Zim-Asset, has also identified SEZs as one way of reviving the economy by attracting FDI through the provision of incentives.