More reforms needed: Chidhakwa

HARARE - Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa says Zimbabwe must introduce economic reforms to support the reintroduction of the Special Economic Zones (Sez).

Speaking at a Special Economic Zone (Sez) workshop — jointly organised by government, World Bank, United Nations Development Programme and the African Development Bank — in the capital last week, Chidhakwa said Sezs cannot work in isolation.

“What it simply says to us is that as we implement Sez, there are other things that we must do alongside them.

“Sezs operate better if the broader microeconomic environment is performing well. Therefore the need to ensure that the microeconomic fundamentals are right continues to be an imperative on us,” he said.

This comes at a time when the country is planning to re-establish Sezs in the hope of boosting economic growth.

A Special Economic Zone is a designated geographical region that operates under special economic regulations that are different from other areas in the same country.

Zimbabwe used to have Sezs, but the system collapsed in 2007 after being operational for about 12 years.

The southern African country has been blamed by critics for wanting to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), yet enacting laws that hinder investment.

Among such laws is the controversial indigenisation law which compels foreigners to cede 51 percent shareholding to black locals.

Economists say the country needs to “realign” the laws and the economic climate if the country is to drag itself out of the economic crisis it is in.

Francis Nhema, Indigenisation minister recently hinted that government intends to make amends and relax the legislative piece.

Chidhakwa said the realignment of the legislative aspect and investment are vital.

“It is important for legislation to be synchronised timeously. There should be simultaneous amendment of all statutes to reflect Sez legislation when implementation commences,” Chidhakwa said.

Meanwhile, Adam Molai, Savanna Tobacco ‎Executive Chairperson, told the Sez workshop that government must give equal treatment to foreign and local investors as it makes moves to adopt Sezs.

“I speak as a businessman who was part of the previous and collapsed Sez programme, it does not help anyone for preferential treatment to be given to foreign investors as the local investors may end up boycotting the exercise,” said Molai.

He also said a consistency in policy is vital for the Sez programme.

“Policy consistency is important in this initiative. Imagine if farmers in the Sezs were protected during the Land Reform Programme… The country wouldn’t even be where it is now,” Molai said.

Comments (3)

Walter you are right but what you say is not what your other felas are saying so there is a lot of contradictions in this government you entered. Investors see this confusion and those who flourish in confusion will come but those who are clear minded will not. Now if you get those who cherish in confusion will continue promoting the confusion so that they keep flourishing. In other words what you and Chinamsa have said is ZIMASSETT is not good enough and we must have another economic blue print, not a surprise for country which has had more blue prints than all the underwear the president has used since independence.

Maita Manyuka - 22 April 2014

Taura hako Maita Manyuka---Is Sez part of ZIM ASSET? If not how does it come in when we already have an economic blue print? Are we now supplanting ZIM-ASSET?

E-conofused - 23 April 2014

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