BULAWAYO has set up a committee to drive the implementation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the city as part of efforts to lure investors and revive ailing industries.
The city has already been designated as a manufacturing SEZ by Government alongside other sister zones in the country that include Sunway City in Harare, Victoria Falls and Tokwe-Mukorsi in Masvingo.
The new committee is made up of officials from different ministries, the Bulawayo City Council and captains of industry and commerce. Bulawayo Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube and United Refineries Limited chief executive officer, Mr Busisa Moyo, have already been appointed as members of the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) board, which is led by former RBZ Governor, Dr Gideon Gono.
Association for Business in Zimbabwe (Abuz) chief executive officer Mr Victor Nyoni has called on businesses in Bulawayo to embrace the SEZs initiative.
“In his 2018 budget Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa talked about Bulawayo being designated a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) area. A SEZ committee has already been put in place and Abuz is part of this committee,” said Mr Nyoni.
“Through these committees there is need for a serious conversation on how the city can attract both local and foreign investment.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) Matabeleland Chapter president, Mr Joseph Gunda, has also confirmed formation of the local SEZs committee to which the industry body is a member.
The Bulawayo City Council has identified five areas, including serviced stands, where SEZs operators can set up factories.
According to statistics from the World Bank, there are more than 3 000 projects taking place in SEZs in 135 countries worldwide creating more than 68 million jobs and generating $500 billion worth of trade.
The implementation of SEZs took centre stage during last week’s 2018 National Budget review dialogue organised by The Chronicle Business. In his address at the event The Chronicle acting general manager, Mr Shadreck Chikamhi, challenged businesses in the city to work together to reverse de-industrialisation and help restore Bulawayo to its former glory.
Bulawayo Central House of Assembly Member Ms Dorcas Sibanda who also attended the event said industry revival in the city would not come on a silver platter unless business associations aggressively lobbied Government to craft policies they desire.
“Policies are made by us and it is your right to push Government to come up with policies that support your buisinesses,” said Ms Sibanda.
“You need to tell policy makers what you want. You should say this is what we want to grow our cake.”