‘Declare whole of Byo an SEZ’. . . Business rejects sectoral approach

Bulawayo Chamber of SMEs chairperson Mr Energy Majazi stresses a point during the Business Chronicle Pre-Budget dialogue yesterday. Following proceedings among the guests are the Sunday News Editor Limukani Ncube (left) and Chronicle Editor Innocent Madonko (second left)

Bulawayo Chamber of SMEs chairperson Mr Energy Majazi stresses a point during the Business Chronicle Pre-Budget dialogue yesterday. Following proceedings among the guests are the Sunday News Editor Limukani Ncube (left) and Chronicle Editor Innocent Madonko (second left)

Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
INDUSTRY and commerce executives in Bulawayo have called on the Government to declare the entire city an industrial Special Economic Zone (SEZ) as opposed to adopting a sectoral approach.

Contributing during a pre-budget dialogue symposium organised by The Chronicle yesterday, participants said the focus on leather and textile SEZ was narrow arguing that such a move would not yield the desired revival of Bulawayo industries.

They pointed out that the city had a wider spectrum of industries and all should benefit from SEZ.

CZI Matabeleland Chapter president Mr Joseph Gunda said while business was pleased that Bulawayo is a SEZ, they wanted an inclusive model.

“The concept of SEZs was initiated by CZI and we are happy that it has been adopted by the Government. We would want a situation whereby different  sectors of the economy benefit from SEZ packages as opposed to adopting a sectoral approach such as the leather and textile sector.

“Taking a holistic approach on the SEZ concept will see all other companies in other sectors such as engineering and food processing benefiting,” he said.

The industrialists said declaring the city a leather and textile cluster as initially indicated, would disadvantage other companies that are supposed to benefi from the SEZ concept.

SEZs are designated geographical regions that operate under special economic regulations that are different from other areas in the same country.

Zimpapers (1980) Limited Board Chair Mr Delma Lupepe addresses the Business Chronicle Pre-Budget dialogue at a Bulawayo hotel yesterday. Listening (from left) are Group Human Resources manager Mr Herbert Simemeza and General Manager of the Group’s Digital and Publishing Division Mr Marks Shayamano

Zimpapers (1980) Limited Board Chair Mr Delma Lupepe addresses the Business Chronicle Pre-Budget dialogue at a Bulawayo hotel yesterday. Listening (from left) are Group Human Resources manager Mr Herbert Simemeza and General Manager of the Group’s Digital and Publishing Division Mr Marks Shayamano

The country has adopted the SEZs concept following lobbying by industry bodies with a view of attracting increased investment on designated areas, which would offer special conditions and incentives to enhance international competitiveness as well as foster industrial growth and development.

Bulawayo has companies in sectors such as engineering, food, leather and textile, among others.

Despite the challenges facing the economy, Mr Gunda said several Bulawayo firms were showing signs of recovery.

“Companies in Bulawayo are slowly crawling back towards revival. Among companies that have shown signs of recovery are Kango Products that has increased its export volumes to 167 percent since last year, Blue Ribbon Foods, Datlabs, Arenel Biscuits and Bakers Inn,” he said.

In the engineering sector, Mr Gunda cited companies such as General Beltings, Botton Armature Winding, and Shepco Group, which has taken over BMA Fasteners.

He said through business organisations such as CZI, captains of industry had advocated for the removal of certain goods from the Open General Import Licence to stimulate competitiveness in the local manufacturing sector.

@okazunga

Pin It
  • Wellington

    Yah eyiDelma iyasutha sibili,

  • Essexvale

    I attended this workshop and got the impression that a significant number of other attendants, particularly the facilitators, editors and business people, used this occasion as an opportunity to flaunt their educational qualifications and individual statuses. In this situation, I feel the meeting’s theme concerning restoration of Bulawayo’s economic potential took secondary importance. Although the workshop considered pertinent aspects concerning SMEs, it became apparent that the views from vending associations were pointedly down-played, particularly by Joseph Gunda the current president of the Matebeleland chapter of the CZI – Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries. This creates a situation which renders insignificant, statistical evidence that the informal economy has gained the status of a major player in the country’s economy. The CZI – stance on the issue of informal businesses therefore came across as elitist and hostile. This is not surprising given that the industrialists’ body has protecting the interests of formal businesses as its core thrust, while seemingly considering informal enterprises as unfair competition for its members. My opinion is that ideally, the workshop’s organisers should have adopted an inclusive stance-point in which views from every sector of the country’s economy would be considered. Thereby, the aim of all stakeholders working mutually for the effective achievement of restoring Bulawayo’s status as the nation’s industrial hub would become an actual possibility

    • The BOSS

      That’s typical zimbo style for you, bragging about education when there’s nothing to show for it.Anyway i agree with you that they should’ve adopted an inclusive stance, however the workshop should’ve looked at how to lure investors and sponsors and ways to generate capital injection.

      • Essexvale

        I agree and would additionally like to endorse your last sentence. Thanks!