BH24 Reporter — INDUSTRIALISTS are pushing for the whole of Zimbabwe to be declared a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) as efforts to fast-track reindustrialization programme and boost export-led economic growth.
Cairns Foods chief executive officer Nancy Guzha said local industry as a whole was facing competitiveness issues mainly on the back of high production costs.
As such, offering incentives and subsidies for industries should be spread across the country, not only specific locations or sub-sectors of the economy.
“For as manufacturers, we really think the whole of Zimbabwe should be declared one massive special economic zone. The reality is we still need to look at high production costs; we still have high utilities to deal with and taxes.
“These affect the competitiveness of our products on regional markets especially in terms of pricing,” she said at a recent exporters’ conference held in the capital.
SEZs are designated geographical regions which operate under special economic regulations that are different from other areas in the same country. They offer special conditions and incentives to promote international competitiveness.
These have been implemented in countries such as Ethiopia, where leather processing SEZs have made tremendous contribution to its economy making it one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.
Other notable success stories of SEZs are in South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya, Malaysia and Nigeria. Studies show SEZs have been catalysts of economic growth in developed nations like China, and Zimbabwe could take a cue from this. In Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is one of the areas ear marked for tourism SEZ.