BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
INDUSTRY and Commerce minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu has challenged Bulawayo province to come up with competitive incentives to attract investment.
Addressing delegates attending the Bulawayo investment conference on Wednesday, Ndlovu said the province should take advantage of devolution to attract significant investment.
“As we have taken this devolution drive, Bulawayo province be warned that there is intense competition for investment. You will not have it on a silver platter, unless you move out from your comfort zones and present opportunities and incentives that are competitive, we might find ourselves organising yet another talk show,” Ndlovu said.
“Let us interrogate how we can exploit the natural God-given endowments in our province for our best advantage. If we all do this, all provinces will contribute significantly to the national gross domestic product and the government’s thrust of being an upper middle income country by 2030 will be easily achieved.”
Ndlovu said local people were well-positioned to drive the region’s development agenda because they have a better understanding of their development needs, challenges as well as possible interventions.
He said the establishment of the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (Zida) will address challenges such as bureaucracy and lack of coordination in investment approval processes; excessive and overlapping legal instruments; as well as exorbitant fees for permits and licenses.
“We believe that these reforms will reduce the time for investment licencing and enhance facilitation of personnel to live and work in Zimbabwe which in itself is a source of competitive advantage,” he said.
Zimbabwe is in the process of implementing Special Economic Zones (SEZs) following various countries that have successfully implemented them.
Among the six designated SEZs, two are in Bulawayo, namely, the Umvimila and the Belmont, Kelvin/Donnington corridor.
Ndlovu said all SEZs have attractive fiscal and non-fiscal incentives that include tax holidays and duty suspension on imported inputs.
“I must say that I am concerned by the slow pace of operationalising them, but the coming in of Zida will hopefully speed up the process,” he said.