SEZs a stimulant for growth


THE revival and subsequent development of our economy is one story that the world is waiting for with bated breath — and for a reason.
Zimbabwe is a sleeping giant.
It is an economic story waiting to unravel.
It is a giant waiting to claim a stake in the global economic order.
It is as Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister (Rtd) Lieutenant General Sibusiso Moyo said in the US recently: “Africa’s best kept secret.”
Ours is no longer a story about potential — that is a narrative of the past.
The new story, a trajectory we are pursuing with vigour as a nation, is that of real action on the ground.
We are now at a stage where we have to steer clear of political rhetoric but speak the language of growth, development and prosperity through restructuring our institutions.
That is a simple task for those concerned with the revival efforts.
We have all the ingredients needed for a world class economy.
We are strategically located in the region.
We are the link between many African countries.
And we have the climate and human resource base to make this economy globally competitive.
The base is there for us to initiate the necessary steps to start the revival process.
How do we go about this compelling process?
Where do we start from?
The answer to the last question is simple.
We start here and now.
There is a template.
A new economic phenomenon is emerging in Africa.
This thrust is anchored on what is known as Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
SEZs have redefined and annihilated the old centralised economic system.
I have said at the beginning that our institutions need restructuring.
This is where our problem lay.
Reviving the economy requires a review of our institutions and giving them the strength to make informed decisions that can steer the country out of the economic quagmire.
There is need for collaboration between those responsible for the SEZs and relevant economic development units.
In the same vein, our people must be equipped with the skills to execute their mandate.
The next stage is to secure local funds to activate these SEZs before we look outside for money.
This is our programme and we need to harness our own funds to drive our economic agenda.
The SEZs come with many benefits, especially for indigenes, these include, among others, corporate tax exemption for the first five years of operation and a corporate tax rate of 15 percent after that.
Free importation duty of capital equipment and exemptions for non-residents withholding tax on royalties is another benefit that can be accrued from the SEZs drive.
These are, literary, free benefits that stimulate economic growth and negate the burden of pooling a lot of resources when making an investment.
Our business players can be catapulted to the next level by operating in the ambit of the SEZs.
Small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) must be the biggest beneficiaries of that drive.
India has grown on to be one of the world’s largest economies, courtesy of the contributions of SMEs.
Let us come together and revive this economy.


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