HomeBusiness DigestEPZ pleads for stay of projects' acquisition

EPZ pleads for stay of projects’ acquisition

Godfrey Marawanyika

THE Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZ) has appealed to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for its projects not to be compulsorily acquired under the fast-track land rese

ttlement programme.

Since the programme began three years ago some EPZ land has been taken away in violation of the authority’s operating Act which guarantees tenure.

EPZ managing director Walter Chidakwa yesterday confirmed that the authority had sought help from government through their parent ministry.

“The best we can do and what we have done so far is that we have approached our parent ministry which is Finance in this case,” Chidakwa said. “We have explained to them every case on its merits on why it should not be affected by the land reform issues. The ministry has received our proposals and they should be considering them, but the final approval of being de-listed comes from the Ministry of Agriculture.”

The government, hard-pressed for foreign currency since 1999, has off late been shifting the blame on the alleged hemorrhaging of foreign currency by EPZ firms.

The blame resulted in the central bank demanding EPZ firms to re-submit their currency declaration forms.

After doing this the EPZ firms were “exonerated of any wrong-doing”.

Since December last year, EPZ companies have been subjected to the same foreign exchange surrender requirements applicable to all exporting companies.

RBZ governor Gideon Gono announced that the initial 60-day period after which exporters were required to liquidate their FCAs into the market was reduced to 21 days.

Chidakwa said although they had appealed to their parent ministry they had not yet received any “feed back from the Ministry of Agriculture”.

He said although they were awaiting responses from the Ministry of Agriculture, government appeared to be more concerned about farm sizes.

“The thinking in government is that some of the farms are too big, but we have made our proposals on that but that still has to be accepted,” Chidakwa said.

So far some EPZ firms that have been hard-hit by political interference are Kondozi Farm and Charleswood Estates.

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