The Bulawayo business community yesterday snubbed the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (ZIDA) Bill public hearings, with less than 30 people attending.


The Portfolio Committees on Industry and Commerce as well as Foreign Affairs International Trade were in Bulawayo yesterday, conducting public hearings on the ZIDA Bill, but only a handful of people was in attendance.

The Bill seeks to establish a one-stop shop for investors by repealing the Zimbabwe Investment Authority Act, the Special Economic Zones Act and house them under the ZIDA Act.

Committee chair Kindness Paradza expressed disappointment with the poor public turnout.

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“We thought Bulawayo was going to be overwhelmed, and we thought the Large City Hall was going to be full. Also, considering that Bulawayo is the industrial hub of Zimbabwe and that it’s a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), we thought we were going to see a large number of people here, including the city council,” he said.

“We are disappointed that there are very few people here. We would have loved to see many people in Bulawayo.”

Bulawayo Polytechnic principal Gilbert Mabasa said: “It is unpardonable that the team that is coming to Bulawayo to get opinion is more than people who should give that opinion.”

Mabasa also blamed the event organisers for failing to advertise the event adequately.

Meanwhile, those who attended the hearings said different departments in the one-stop-shop should be empowered to issue out consolidated permits within a short period of time.

Others said the Bill should incorporate the tourism sector in Bulawayo under the SEZs.

The Bill should also ensure that all investments coming into the country would benefits the locals.

On SEZs, Bulawayo City Council’s economic development officer, Kholisani Moyo, said the Bill should look at two models — sector-specific and area-specific models.

Another participant, Calvin Manduna, said the Bill should make Zimbabwe more competitive compared to other countries.

Licensing arms of agencies, including the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Environment Management Agency, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Companies Office; National Social Security Agency, Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and State Enterprises, including other ministry departments would be integrated under ZIDA.