Minister of Industry and Commerce Nqobizitha Ndlovu encouraged local business people to invest in local industries as it helps lure foreign investors.
Giving his keynote address at the Bulawayo Investment Conference, Wednesday, Minister Ndlovu said for the industrial sector to lure meaningful investment, there is a need for putting up basic economic structures.
He said Bulawayo is a strategically located province which serves as a doorway to the COMESA region.
“Bulawayo is strategically located, it does not only form the axis of road and rail networks but links the country with the Southern African region by providing important railway linkages to South Africa, Botswana and Zambia,” he said.
Minister Ndlovu said Bulawayo has vast opportunities for growth and as such business people should complement each other rather than compete.
“We often get carried away and find ourselves competing and not complementing each other in business. This conference will showcase and package investment opportunities in the province and provide a platform to engage with key stakeholders,” said Min Ndlovu.
He added that the conference complements the government’s efforts to implement the devolution program as provided for in the Constitution.
He commended the platform for bringing together economic players such as policymakers, bankers, local authority, logistics providers and energy and transport infrastructure providers.
”There are investment environment reforms being made by the government primarily to make our country one of the prime investment destinations.
“This forum should encourage other provinces to plan and implement their strategic economic growth taking advantage of their natural and comparative endowments.
“If we all do this all provinces will significantly contribute to the national gross domestic product,” he said.
He added: “The uptake of this devolution drive serves as a warning to Bulawayo Province that there will be intense competition for investments, we need to move out of our comfort zones and present opportunities and incentives where necessary.
“Local people need to understand they are well positioned to drive their economic agenda as they have a better understanding of their development needs, its challenges as well as possible interventions and the comparative advantages they may have.”
The minister said the government is currently working on a new law, the Zimbabwe Investments Development Act which aims at repealing three existing laws.
These Acts are Zimbabwe Investments Authority Act, Zimbabwe Special Economic Zones Act and the Zimbabwe Joint Ventures Act.
He urged those responsible for the special economic zones to speed up processes of putting up the basic economic structures to have more investors coming in.
“Among the special economic zones, two are in Bulawayo. These are the Imvumila and the Belmont and Donnington Corridor. I’m concerned about the slow pace of operationalisation of these special economic zones. The coming in of ZIDA will hopefully speed up the processes because only then can we have meaningful investments coming in to settle there,” he said.