Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
BEITBRIDGE is primed for massive economic growth as it is working on attracting investors to exploit opportunities under the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) initiative, a senior official has said.
Recently, the Government declared Beitbridge as a SEZ.
Speaking during the launch of a bread distribution company, Sasco (The Bread Shop) in Beitbridge this week, the Town Clerk Mr Loud Ramakgapola said the town has a lot of investment opportunities in infrastructure development, beef and related products, manufacturing, livestock production, retail, warehousing, packaging, and accommodation, among others. The Bread Shop is owned by a local businesswoman Ms Tapiwa Moyo.
Mr Ramakgapola said so far they have availed 248 hectares of land that would house SEZ projects to include heavy and light industries.
“It’s encouraging to be attracting investments from the Sadc region especially South Africa. This is a welcome development in our town as we walk through the road to economic transformation. You will note that the prices of bread have been of concern to many people and this company, we are told, will be distributing at relatively cheap prices,” he said, adding that the setting up of the firm in Beitbridge will add impetus in addressing issues of unemployment.
“This comes at a time when we are all out on the ground seeking investors to exploit our Special Economic Zone status”.
Mr Ramakgapola said the local authority has among others resolved to expeditiously process business proposals from investors to reduce the red tape that frustrates economic growth.
The town clerk said they expect more companies to set up shop in the town in the next five years under the SEZ facility.
“Let me assure all those who want to invest in Beitbridge town that we are ready to approve the projects in the shortest possible time. In the next three years, we should be starting factories running around the SEZ area. We are better positioned as a town, in terms of facilitating international trade. Additionally, we have a good road network, railway line and are hopeful that the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development will put an airport 15 kilometres out of town,” said Mr Ramakgapola.
Speaking during the same event, Ms Moyo said she will be distributing bread around Limpopo province and the greater part of southern Zimbabwe. She said the idea was to promote economic growth in Zimbabwe and create employment for the youths.
The bread, she said will be brought into the country through the special delivery customs procedure for perishable goods.
“This is a facility that will see cargo spending less than three hours within the border. We will be taking the bread from Sasco in Sebasa and distributing it from our distribution points mostly in Beitbridge.’’