Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Special Economic Zones Authority (Zimseza) has come up with an action plan to set the tone for the operationalisation of the Special Economic Zones concept in Bulawayo.
Bulawayo is one of the areas that Government designated for the implementation of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) initiative with a view to restoring the city’s former glory as the country’s industrial hub.
Speaking during a workshop for the technical working group on SEZs in Bulawayo yesterday, Zimseza technical head, Mr Wilfred Motsi, said the action plan shows the scope of work that needs to be implemented by service providers to operationalise the SEZs concept.
“We have come up with the action plan for the implementation of SEZs in Umvumila. The action plan shows processes in each group, especially service providers. In coming up with costings and the gaps they can maybe try to look in that type of action plan and the implementation matrix for the zone.
“In other words this presentation looks at the action plan for bulk infrastructure, designs and costings as well as the implementation plan or matrix for the whole zone,” he said.
Belmont Industrial site has also been designated under the SEZ under the sector-specific model while Umvumila is under the area-specific model. The action plan, Mr Motsi said, has project milestones that are required to be undertaken among them a feasibility study for Umvumila to establish key deliverables that will assist stakeholders in coming up with a Master Plan for the zone.
“The action plan is going to have what is called the milestone, the action steps to be taken, key deliverables and then at the end of the day we want to see Umvumila as a functioning SEZ.
“Our first milestone will be the development of a feasibility study for the area and this is work in progress. We have said Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is the one which is going to do that or whether they are going to engage a consultant,” said Mr Motsi.
“As a stopgap measure we have said service providers give us the costings of the gaps on the requirements of the infrastructure especially for Umvumila and that will assist us to come up with a Master Plan.”
The action plan which Zimseza has developed also has off and onsite milestones on water treatment infrastructure looking at water designs and raising funds for the water treatment plans.
Mr Motsi said the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has indicated willingness to fund bankable projects under the SEZs initiative.
“We also have a milestone on electricity. There is a need for a substation or transformer so we need the designs, costings, fund raising issues and also who is going to do that.
“In other words the Ministry of Finance and other line ministries are willing to provide funds for that. And there is also the budget issue and then we submit the project document and the funding will be sourced from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
“We also have another milestone, which covers roads and feeder roads and we also need costings, designs, and the Ministry of Finance is willing to chip in with funding as a business case for the scope of work,” he said.
Bulawayo City business development officer, Mr Kholisani Moyo, said as a technical working group, they would now be moving with speed to organise and co-ordinate activities aimed at developing the zone.
“Zimseza has just given us the guideline but as the City Council we would want the SEZs to be operational as of yesterday. But now we need to implement activities that have been provided to us as a guideline towards the implementation of the SEZs concept,” he said.
“When we are talking about the national vision that is Vision 2030, we want this zone to be operational by that time but you will find that up to 2020 we need to have covered issues like the feasibility study.
“The actual development of that zone will depend on how fast we are moving on activities offered in the guideline,” he said. — @okazunga.