Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Bill now in debate

Special Economic Zones (SEZs)  aimed at growth…

rob daviesAs an integral part of the New Growth Plan, the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Bill has tabled  before Parliament by the trade and industry minister, Rob Davies.

In April last year, the cabinet has approved the draft which provides for the designation, development, promotion, operation and management of SEZs, an important component of department of trade and industry”s (DTI) development policy within the New Growth Plan.

Takes over from IDZ policy

This has been developed in conjunction the various economically linked government departments dealing with the concept of SEZs differing greatly but not entirely replacing past industrial development zone (IDZ) principles.

The new Bill will allow for an appropriate board; a fund to develop SEZs and the ability to manage and implement programmes establishing and approving incentives for operators. The Bill itself states that the new legislation will allow for:

•    the management of SEZs
•    establishing an SEZ board
•    establishing a dedicated SEZ fund
•    incentives for SEZ operators
•    the issuing of SEZ permits to persons wishing to develop a SEZ
•    the suspension or withdrawal of a SEZ operator permit.

Complementing what has gone before

In addressing Parliament, minister Rob Davies said the policy and Bill had been drawn up to deal with the problems that had resulted from the earlier industrial IDZ incentive programme but which would now be consolidated into and under the proposed structure, both by filling in gaps and widening the scope of both geographically and economically.

What will interest developers, he said, is that the Bill allows for the application of different types and improved incentives for developing industry and businesses.  Once the board is established this will in fact activate the new SEZ programme and allow for co-ordination.

A draft bill and a draft policy were gazetted separately for comment in January last year.  Minister Davies has said that the IDZ programme would continue but would fall under the proposed SEZs and the aegis of new SEZ board.

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