Distinguished members of the media, Fellow Board Members, Special Economic Zones CEO: Mr E Kondo and your team here present; Ladies and gentlemen.
1. I want to begin by thanking you all for braving the early morning cold to be here with us.
2. We have dubbed this breakfast meeting “ One year on: The Zimbabwe Special Economic Zones Authority: what’s there to show for it”?
3. The SEZ board was appointed to this brand new institution on 26 June, 2017: exactly a year ago this month. Many stakeholders including yourselves must have wondered why the silence and what was occupying us…?
4. Well, we had a job to do… and were determined to do it as thoroughly as we could, following a well laid out path and within the confines of the Law, ie The Special Economic Zones Act Chap.14:34.
5. Unlike an existing State Owned Enterprise (SOE) to which many people are appointed and on day one they find a CEO in place, Management and staff in place, offices and a physical address in place, operating procedures, organizational rules and regulations in place… ours was a task was one few people are privileged to undertake in their lives: building an institution, rules of play and procedures from scratch.
6. In this regard, we have spent the last 350 odd days working on
7. Putting systems and procedures in place.
8. Meeting ministers and their officials to go through what it means to have a Special Economic Zone as well as the imperatives of such a Zone.
9. Learning how other Special Economic Zones have operated the world over;
10. Putting together incentives packages, be they fiscal or non-fiscal;
11. Dealing with staffing issues, Office Accommodation and other logistics.
12. We have invited you to announce to you and the world that “WE ARE NOW READY TO ROLL…” What does that mean?
13. It means that by end of this week, the regulations and incentive packages will be gazetted and once gazetted, we can start approving projects, we can begin declaring areas, cities and towns as SEZs.
14. Government has publicized its desire for SEZ status for Sunway City here In Msasa/Ruwa; Victoria Falls;Bulawayo and recently Mutare and Norton.
15. We will now, after gazetting the regulations and incentives this week, request investors in these places to submit specific projects that speak to the exact location of their proposed factories, business plans with projections of exports generation or level of import substitution, employment creation, technology transfers and introductions, proposed linkages with local industries and implementation time tables.
16. We will look at other attributes such as proximity to raw materials or markets, road, rail or air networks, waste management programs, power and water availability, proximity to Labour markets and other amenities.
17. With regard to location of Special Economic Zones and their designations, I’m happy to advise once again that every inch of Zimbabwe can be a Special Economic Zone provided it meets the criteria I have outlined above.
18. We are not restricted to the areas I have mentioned only; in the Midlands for instance, we are ready to declare Sanyati or Gokwe Special Economic Zones for the cotton and fabric sector…Kwekwe, Redcliff as gold, iron and steel corridor, Gweru, zvishavane ,Shurugwi a gold and chrome corridors.
19. Masvingo, Tokwe Mukosi, Chiredzi and Hippo valley,
20. Matabeleland South, North, Bulawayo and all Mashonaland Provinces, Manicaland… all these areas can be special Economic Zones once the necessary infrastructures are developed and proper systems of accountability are put in place.
21. We are open for business and are also ready to disrupt old ways of thinking in favour of new ideas and ways forward. We cannot remain trapped in the past and not everything of the past belongs to the present or the future. Investors from across the globe
22. The Zimbabwe Special Economic Zones Authority is not a political party where we make empty slogans. We have been instructed by His Excellency President E D Mnangagwa to focus on the economy and leave politicians to play politics.
23. Against this background, we have adopted the Deng Xiaoping philosophy which says” IT DOES NOT MATTER IF THE CAT IS BLACK OR WHITE AS LONG AS IT CATCHES MICE”.
24. In our quest to attract investors we will welcome Investors from across the globe and as long as you do not promote terrorism or money laundering, you are welcome into our Zones.
Introducing our inaugural CEO…
Colleagues ladies and gentlemen, it is now my singular owner and privilege to introduce to you our inaugural CEO, appointed in terms of Section 20 of the Special Economic Zones Act: The gentleman is non other than Mr Edwin Kondo, an accomplished corporate individual on whose back we all expecting to ride…..
Dr Gideon Gono.
(Rtd)Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor: