via Dangote Group starts Zim projects – Sunday News Apr 10, 2016
Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
WORK on some of the projects identified by the Dangote Group in Zimbabwe has started especially in mining with Government saying this will herald a new era in efforts to attract Foreign Direct Investment which is key to unlock the potential in the economy.
The Dangote Group is owned by Africa’s richest businessman Mr Aliko Dangote who visited the country in August last year where he met President Mugabe and a number of ministers and expressed his desire to invest in the country.
Macro-economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister Dr Obert Mpofu confirmed that preliminary work on some of the Dangote Group’s projects has started.
“The projects are actually on full throttle, we are currently going through the textual evaluation of these projects whereby they have engaged experts in the geological sector to look at the coal deposits and so forth as well as to work with line ministries to establish exactly what should be done and their team has been on the ground for quite some time,” Dr Mpofu said.
He said the Dangote Group’s investment into the country heralds the country as an investment destination of choice in the continent.
“This promises to be an exciting development, which the country will benefit immensely from. These investors are serious, they are not using bureaucratic ways of doing it. They are coming in with hands-on evaluators who are on the ground and ministries are facilitating to ensure that what they want is got,” said Dr Mpofu.
He said professional evaluation is being done to ensure the implementation of the projects.
“If these projects are actualised, the country will be an interesting investment destination for all to see. We have the measures that we have come up with that are likely to attract Foreign Direct Investment such as the One Stop Investment Shop, which is being finalised through our necessary processes. There is also the repeal of the Investment Act, which will make it very easy to do business in Zimbabwe,” said Dr Mpofu.
The Dangote Group is looking forward to investing over $500 million in starting a coal mine, construction of a hydro power station and a cement plant. During his visit last year the Nigerian billionaire said he would spend close to $400 million on the cement plant, which will produce a million and a half tonnes of cement a year, making it the biggest in country.
Zimbabwe Investment Authority board chairman Dr Nigel Chanakira also confirmed the Dangote Group had started initial work on their projects but could not be drawn to shed more light referring this publication to the investment body’s management.
“We (the ZIA board) have done all that we needed and they (ZIA management) do the follow ups, so from what they sound it’s still on-going (Dangote Group investment). There were feasibility studies that were done then the Environmental Impact Assessment with the Environment Management Agency, which I am sure was done,” said Dr Chanakira.
Dr Mpofu also said the process of turning some areas in the country into Special Economic Zones was now at an advanced stage.
“The other initiative is Special Economic Zones (SEZs), which is also one of the most progressive and exciting developments in the country that will attract quite a number of those that have always wanted to come to Zimbabwe in a manner that is not subjected to the usually bureaucratic processes that scares away investors.
“The SEZ bill has actually gone through the first stage and we are now awaiting the Parliamentary Legal Committee to give us a go ahead before it goes to the second and final stages and all these are measures aimed at transforming our investor policy in a big way,” Dr Mpofu said.
The term special economic zone is commonly used as a generic term to refer to only one modern economic zone.
In these zones business and trade laws differ from the rest of the country. Broadly, SEZs are located within a country’s national borders. The aims of the zones include: increased trade, increased investment, job creation and effective administration. To encourage businesses to set up in the zone, financial policies are introduced. These policies typically regard investing, taxation, trading, quotas, customs and labour regulations. Additionally, companies may be offered tax holidays.
The creation of special economic zones by the host country may be motivated by the desire to attract FDI. The benefits a company gains by being in a Special Economic Zone may mean it can produce and trade goods at a globally competitive price. The operating definition of an economic zone is determined individually by each country.
Bulawayo and Victoria Falls are among cities that have been earmarked for Special Economic Zones status.