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ZIMBABWE needs more reforms beyond the introduction of special economic zones to arrest the economic slide, mines minister Walter Chidhakwa said on Thursday.

The country is currently grappling with reforms stipulated under the International Monetary Fund’s staff monitored programme (SMP), including strengthening corporate governance in banks, increasing transparency in diamond mining and sales as well as amending mining laws.

The SMP could also help the Southern African country clear its $10 billion in external debts and reopen access to much-needed new international credit.
Chidhakwa told delegates attending a conference on Special Economic Zones (SEZ), which the government is introducing to attract foreign investment, that the economic climate has to improve to grow business.

“We have got a multi-pronged disease which needs a multi-pronged approach. I kept on hearing during this workshop that SEZ are not a panacea, true,” Chidhakwa said.

“What it simply says to us is that as we implement SEZ, there are other things that we must do alongside them. SEZs operate better if the broader microeconomic environment is performing well. Therefore the need to ensure that the microeconomic fundamentals are right continues to be an imperative on us.”

Government is working on legislation to set up the special economic zones and Chidhakwa said other relevant legislation would need revision to create harmony.

“It is important for legislation to be synchronised timeously. There should be simultaneous amendment of all statutes to reflect SEZ Legislation when implementation commences,” Chidhakwa said.


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