Special Economic Zone for Manhidze; Mliswa says isolated Zimbabwe does not have luxury to waste time

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By Staff Reporter

CHIRUMANZU could be declared a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) if deliberations between government and DINSON, the company building a multi-billion dollar steel plant in the Midlands district are successful.

The SEZ removes bureaucratic delays in identified spaces which would have primarily be located in areas vital to Zimbabwe’s export bill.

DINSON set out to build Africa’s largest steel processing plant in Manhidze, injecting some US$70 million into the project and over a billion in its up and downstream operations.

The SEZ Authority operates under the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (ZIDA) from which DINSON applied for such status almost two years ago.

“It is almost one and a half years since we applied for the licence, there have been some bottlenecks, some delays but last time the President himself (Emmerson Mnangagwa) talked to the Chairperson of ZIDA to speed up the process.

“We have had a series of meetings where he has advised us on how to go about it. Next week we have a meeting where we will be discussing the same matter,” said an official at the site.

He was speaking to members of legislator Temba Mliswa’s entourage during their visit recently.

If DINSON’s application sails through, they will be granted zero rated corporate tax for five years and 100% rebate on customs duty for all equipment, machinery or raw materials it will import.

So far, Zimbabwe only has four SEZs; Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Beit Bridge and Sunway City.

“The designation of Chirumhanzu, under which DISCO falls, a SEZ is also an urgent need which ZIDA should pursue. Other projects with lower investments have already benefited from such designations,” said Mliswa.

“We can’t have such a huge project being derailed by bureaucratic government bottlenecks at a time when the geopolitical setup is skewed against us.

“Tsingshan Group the parent company of DISCO has led a steel revolution in Indonesia which has made it number two in the world.

“We have to appreciate the fact that Manhize is the largest FDI project in the country. It speaks of the trust they have in our country and compels us and the government to make the best of the arrangement so that communities see and feel the benefits.”