A LOCAL business pressure group Bulawayo Business Arise (BBA) has submitted a proposal to the Industry and Commerce ministry aimed at helping the new Zanu PF administration draw up strategies of reviving the local industry.
In a proposal submitted last week to new Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha seen by Southern Eye, BBA wants Bulawayo to be declared a special economic industrial zone.
According to the pressure group, economic zones have propelled the economic development of countries such as China, India and South Africa as they offer incentives that are favourable to investors.
BBA, however, raises concerns that it would be an onerous task to revive the textile sector, citing the influx of cheap imports flooding the market, particularly from the Far East.
The group suggests that the government should craft a new business model to address the stiff competition affecting the entire local textile industry as Bulawayo is home to clothing firms employing thousands of locals, but currently battling to stay afloat.
“In Bulawayo, clothing industries will not take off easily unless the issue of markets has been properly addressed through policies that promote local industries,” part of the submission seen by the Southern Eye reads.
“It’s time to find our economic model as a nation and use it to reposition ourselves for growth and sustainability.
“Our proposal is to establish free trade zones in sectors such as information technology, medicine and global processing systems. When we have an IT free economic zone, for example, it will lead to Bulawayo emerging as an information communication region,” part of the submission reads.
BBA said Zimbabwe had become one of the world’s most attractive consumer markets and the government should explore the impact of new wealth on business and commerce and what new business models are likely to trigger economic growth.
It further proposes that the government should come up with technology-driven business innovations which would address the current complex economic and environmental sustainability challenges.
The pressure group expected the government to lay a foundation for a sound business climate required for firms to prosper as well as provide the legal and regulatory frameworks required for growth.
Twitter feedback @mudarikirig