Govt gazettes special economic zones law

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    Harare – The government says it has gazetted regulations for designing Special Economic Zones in Zimbabwe in a bid to revive exports, increase foreign direct investments, create new jobs and facilitate overall economic development.

    The regulations which are in the Statutory Instrument 154 of 2018 released last Friday include provisions such as granting a permit to an operator, declaration of the special economic zones, investors licence fee structures, operational systems, administrative structures, developer permits, among others.

    In an interview with the State broadcaster, ZBC News, Zimbabwe Special Economic Zones Authority Chief Executive Officer Mr Edwin Kondo said the gazetting of the regulations mean they are now being established in several parts of the country.

    “Indeed it is true that the zones laws have been gazetted and we are happy about the latest developments which will go a long way in the recovery of our economy in the short to long term,” he said.

    According to the authority, a special economic zone refers to a geographically specified and physically secured area administered under a distinct authority, offering certain incentives for business to physically locate and operate.

    In terms of the statutory instrument, the fee for developers permit shall be US$3 000 per year, operators licence US$3000 per annum and investors licence shall be US$1000 per year.

    According to economic analysts special economic zones are the way to go, as is evidenced by how they have managed to turnaround economies in the world, especially in Asia, and specifically in China.

    Such designated zones attract foreign capital, bring in new technologies and increase production, leading to a quick industrialisation of the economy.

    Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa had already indicated plans to establish such zones in seven parts of the country.

    Bulawayo was targeted for leather and textiles, Lupane for petro-chemicals, the swathe of territory or corridor stretching from Victoria Falls-Gwayi–Binga–Kariba for tourism, Victoria Falls for finance, Sunway City as a technology hub and Harare and Mutare for diamond cutting.

    Writing in a paper titled “Global Experiences with SEZ — With a focus on China and Africa”, Chinese expert Mr Zhihua Zeng said special economic zones are varied and cover a broad range of areas.

    “The basic concept of SEZs includes several specific characteristics: (a) it is a geographically delimited area, usually physically secured, (b) it has a single management or administration; (c) if offers benefits for investors physically within the zone; and (d) it has a separate customs area (duty-free benefits) and streamlined procedures.”

    In other words, special economic zones “are set up when a country delimits a special area where, through exemption of customs duty, it formulates various preferential conditions and provides public facilities so as to attract foreign investors set up factories whose products are mainly for export”.

    Equity Axis News

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