Bulawayo council proposes 5-year rates relief to special economic zone investors

Bulawayo council proposes 5-year rates relief to special economic zone investors

BULAWAYO, July 6 (The Source) —The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has proposed to exempt investors that will operate under the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) from paying rates for five years among other incentives designed to lure investment to the city.

The city, a former industrial hub which has suffered from divestment in recent years, was awarded SEZ status, specifically in the leather and textiles sector.

Investors in the Special Economic Zones will be exempt from the provisions of the Labour Act as well as the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act among other benefits.

According to the latest council minutes, the City Fathers are offering a 100 percent tax holiday to investments in the SEZ that are effected within the first year for five years.

Developments effected within the second year pay levies at 20 percent for 4 years.

The incentives will be valid for five years, with charges increasing by 20 percent yearly.

Government incentives to be enjoyed by SEZ operators were categorised into four fiscal incentives (corporate taxes, customs duty), non-fiscal incentives (work permits, ownership), monetary Incentives (repatriation of dividends, borrowings), incentives for SEZs developers (land tenure, local government taxes and levies).

The council felt it was considered necessary to come up with its own package of incentives.

It also proposed that exporters utilising currently redundant properties and those employing more than 100 workers would be offered 50 percent rates discount in the first 5 years.

It also proposed to allocate industrial stands on lease with the option to purchase.

Government has also earmarked Victoria Falls, Harare’s Sunway City, Mutare and Lupane for SEZ development.