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2. Investment Incentives

Investment incentives in the countries surveyed are generally available to both domestic and foreign investors. Most of these incentives appear to have been designed primarily with a view to attract foreign investment, and are thus of marginal value to the small or micro enterprise. However, a clear exception to this general rule is provided by the small-scale Financial Assistance Policy available in Botswana, which is specifically targeted at small-scale manufacturers, and the incentives developed in South Africa by the Small Business Development Corporation.

All countries surveyed have a government sponsored investment promotion agency with responsibilities broadly similar to those of the Zambia Investment Centre which is a one-stop facility that seeks to rationalise and speed-up investment application procedures, by:

  • Providing information for the planning stages of investment projects;
  • Organising exploratory visits to Zambia and introducing potential investors to useful contacts;
  • Assisting with evaluation of projects, preparation of proposal documents and approval procedures;
  • Processing of applications for investment certificates;
  • Providing information on compliance requirements with any necessary formalities or regulations;
  • Providing advice on land acquisition and employment legislation;
  • Ensuring investors obtain the maximum benefits from the government's package of incentives;
  • Acting on behalf of investments in negotiations with various government boards and ministries; and
  • Providing after-care advisory and support services.

2.1 Botswana

Financial Assistance Policy (FAP) is generally regarded as the most significant Government investment incentive. This

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programme was created to assist businesses which produce or process goods for import substitution or for export. Large scale mining and the cattle industry are excluded from FAP, as are brewing and distilling operations. Eligible activities for assistance include manufacturing, small and medium scale mining, agriculture other than cattle, selected `linking’ service industries and tourism. Linking service industries are defined as those, which provide a marketing or collection, function for the productive activities, including associated repair and maintenance facilities.

Businesses, which qualify for financial assistance, are classified into three categories:

  • Small-scale projects, which have a fixed capital investment of less than P75,000. FAP assistance in this category is restricted to citizens. Assistance is in the form of a grant, with the amount determined by location, woman ownership and number of jobs created (see below);
  • Medium scale projects, which have a fixed capital investment of between P75,000 and P2 million; and
  • Large scale projects, which have a fixed capital investment in excess of P2 million.

FAP grants for medium and large-scale projects are non-refundable and awarded to both expanding and new productive businesses. Since the emphasis of FAP is on job creation, labour intensive enterprises are favoured. Projects must also have a minimum economic rate of return of 6%. Three grants are available:

  • The Capital Grant assists with initial project investment through the purchase of fixed assets, calculated on the basis of P1,000 per job created for non-citizen owned or joint venture projects and P1,500 per job created for 100% citizen owned projects.
  • The Unskilled Labour Grant for citizens earning wages close to the statutory minimum may be claimed on the following basis:

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    Reimbursement of Wages Paid Year
    80% 1 & 2
    60% 3
    40% 4
    20% 5

  • The Training Grant of 50% for citizens off-the-job training costs will be reimbursed during the first five years of the project. This grant covers tuition, board and lodging, travel, materials and wages.

FAP grants are tax-free.

Small scale FAP is available in accordance with the following rules:

  • The project must require a fixed investment valued at P75 000 or less (this figure was raised from P25,000 following the 1995 FAP review)
  • The applicant must be a Motswana aged 18 years or older.
  • The business must be „productive", in the sense discussed above. Retail and service businesses are excluded, but small-scale mining projects and non-traditional agriculture are eligible.
  • The project must be viable in the sense that there is a market for the products which the business aims to produce. An ‘over-traded’ list is maintained by the Department of Industrial Affairs in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and by the FAP Unit in the Ministry of Agriculture, indicating projects, which will not receive assistance for this reason.
  • The maximum grant available for a small-scale FAP application is P67 500 (being 90% of P75 000, this figure was raised from P25 000 following the 1995 FAP review). However, so-called ‘expansion grants’ may also be awarded for the purchase of fixed assets only. The first expansion grant may only be applied for after 12 months in operation, and a maximum of two expansion grants may be granted for a single project. The total of all grants available to a small scale project is thus P202 500 [3 x P67 500].
  • Under the recently revised regulations, grants for small-scale

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    projects may cover up to 90% of the project cost (with the business owner making a personal contribution of at least 10% towards the cost of the project). The precise amount of the small scale FAP grant is calculated according to a formula which takes the following factors into account:

    § The location of the business - businesses in rural areas receive a greater proportion of assistance
    § Projects owned by women receive a greater proportion of assistance
    § The more jobs created, the greater the assistance the project may receive.

The processing of FAP applications can take considerable time, depending on the complexity of the project. Applicants for small-scale FAP do not normally need professional assistance, but assistance is normally sought for large-scale projects.

Botswana also has the lowest corporate tax rate (25%) of the countries studied. A further incentive is the Local Procurement Programme (see below at 3.3)

Investors can repatriate dividends and profits from Botswana freely. The government has also started signing bilateral agreements regarding promotion and reciprocal protection of investments with European Union members. Botswana is also a signatory to the World Banks’ Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).

2.2 Malawi

The main investment incentives in Malawi are fiscal, comprising general business tax incentives, and special incentives associated with the export processing zone.

Malawi’s tax incentives include:

  • Corporate tax rate of 35%;
  • Tax allowances such as


40% allowance on new buildings and machinery,


Additional 15% allowance for investments in designated areas,

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Up to 20% allowance for used buildings and machinery, and


50% allowance for qualifying training costs;

  • 100% deduction for manufacturing company operating expenses in the first 18 months; and
  • Indefinite loss carry forward to allow companies to take full advantage of tax allowances.

The Investment Promotion Act of 1991 provided for the establishment of Export Processing Zones (EPZ) in 1995. Incentives for establishing operations in an EPZ or manufacturing in bond for export include:

  • No withholding tax on dividends;
  • No duty or capital requirement on capital equipment and raw materials;
  • No excise taxes on purchases of raw materials and packaging materials made in Malawi;
  • No value added taxes;
  • Transport tax allowance equal to 12% of export revenue for non-traditional exports (for manufacturing in bond only); and
  • 100% duty-free importation of equipment and raw materials for those engaged exclusively in horticultural products for export.

The application procedure is not long and an investor may utilise the services of the Malawi Investment Promotion Agency (in which case, there is no cost for the application because professional assistance is not required).

Investors also have free access to foreign exchange in Malawi, both for paying for imports and transferring financial payments abroad. As a protection for foreign investments and the settlement of investment disputes, Malawi is a signatory to several international treaties including:

  • International Centre of the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID);
  • Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and

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  • Bilateral Investment Guarantee and Protection Agreements.

2.3 Namibia

The Foreign Investment Act, 27 of 1990, amended 1993, liberalised foreign investment conditions by opening all sectors of economy to investors and by allowing foreign investors to operate without local participation. The Act further warrants full protection of investments and generous repatriation conditions which remain subject to CMA (Common Monetary Area) regulations as long as the Rand is legal tender in Namibia. The main investment incentives in Namibia are fiscal, comprising general business tax incentives, and special incentives associated with the export processing zone.

The general business tax incentives are:

  • Corporate income tax: 35%;
  • Mining companies tax: 25 - 55% (diamond companies 55%);
  • Petroleum producing companies tax: 42% plus additional profits tax;
  • Manufacturing companies tax: 17.5% with additional deduction (i.e. 50% abatement for five years);
  • Exporters tax (manufactured exports except meat and fish): 7% on export profits (i.e. 80 percent exemption);
  • Export Processing Zones: zero tax regime;
  • Personal income tax: 35% maximum marginal rate; and
  • Non-resident shareholders tax: 10%.

Special incentives for manufacturing enterprises were introduced in 1993 and apply equally to local and foreign manufacturing companies:

  • 50% tax abatement for five years - phased out over 10 years;
  • New investment relocation package - further negotiated tax rates;
  • Accelerated depreciation on buildings - 10 years;
  • Exporters’ deduction (promotion costs) - 125% to 175% tax deductible;

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  • Training cost deduction - 125% tax deductible;
  • Direct production wages deduction - 125% tax deductible;
  • Concessional loans for industrial studies - 50% of real cost; and
  • Exporter’s grants/loans - 50% of approved promotional expenses.

An exporter’s incentive was introduced in 1994/95 which offers an 80% exemption from taxations on profits accruing to exports of manufactured goods (except fish and meat products), whether produced in Namibia or not.

In order to further boost the local manufacturing and export industries, the Namibian Government introduced an export processing zone (EPZ) in Walvis Bay and any other ‘zone’ or ‘enterprise’ appointed by the Minister. Act No 9 of 1995, passed on 18 April 1995, provides that eligible activities include all export-manufacturing activities, value added processing in agro-industry and mineral beneficiation, storage and warehousing, break-bulk activities and business services. The incentives include:

  • Exemption from corporate income tax, general sales tax, additional sales duty, stamp duties, transfer duties and import duties (for exports out of SACU);
  • Guaranteed currency conversion (offshore banking legislation to follow);
  • Liberal labour and customs regulations; and
  • Conditional reimbursement of up to 75% of EPZ personnel training costs.

The Namibian Labour Act, which regulates employment in Namibia, also applies to Namibia's EPZ regime. Strikes, go-slows and lock-outs are not permitted and arbitration procedures are to be strengthened to speed up dispute resolution.

An enterprise which exports only a portion of its output can also apply for EPZ status provided it separates its export activities into a separately registered company. As SMEs usually produce in the first place for the local market, this incentive is unlikely to accommodate SMEs. So far only a few enterprises have obtained

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EPZ status. The application must be accompanied by N$2 000 (refundable in the event of unsuccessful application) and other detailed information. Professional assistance is normally sought by applicants for EPZ status.

2.4 South Africa

Various investment incentive schemes exist in South Africa. These are administered by both state bodies (for example, the Department of Trade and Industry or the Commissioner for Inland Revenue) and parastatal organisations (such as Khula Enterprise Finance Limited, or the Small Business Development Corporation). They are available to both foreign companies wishing to invest in South Africa (e.g. in the form of a tax holiday, also available to a local company), or to local companies in certain industries (e.g. export of commodities). The incentives themselves can take various forms, such as tax relief in the form of holidays, special rebates or accelerated depreciation, direct grants and funding (e.g. under the export investment scheme) or loan financing. The non-tax incentives include Industrial Financing Incentives, Research and Development Incentives, and Regional Industrial Development Incentives.

Industrial Financing Incentives include:

  • The Multi-shift Scheme, which is available to independent industrialists who must maintain an equity level equal to at least 33% of the value of total assets. At least one shift of 8 hours should be added resulting in greater employment. Total assets are required of at least R1 million. Under the scheme, loans are available for the financing of additional working capital and equipment for increased production through an additional shift at a low interest rate for the first three years.
  • Finance for Export of Capital Goods is available to exporters qualifying for Credit Guarantee Insurance Corporation facilities with an acceptable S.A. content. The scheme offers competitive financing in Rand or US Dollars over a period of 2 - 10 years.
  • Venture Capital Finance is available to entrepreneurs starting

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    a business or high technology industry or requiring further permanent capital to finance growth or the commercialisation of new technology. The scheme offers advantageous financing

  • Low Interest Rate Finance for Export Promotion is available to industrialists with total assets of at least R1 million which are expanding capacity to serve export markets, also resulting in employment opportunities. The scheme offers low interest rate for the first three years where 60% of expected sales are for export (and where 30% - 60% of expected sales are for export, half of the loan is at the same low rate). Large groups only qualify for low interest rate to a maximum of R40 million.
  • Small Business Development Loans are available to entrepreneurs who want to start a business, and are limited to enterprises whose gross assets are less than R10 million. The scheme offers finance, premises, training etc.
  • Finance to Improve International Competitiveness is available to manufacturers whose total nominal ad valorem import tariff will decrease by at least 10% over the period 1995 to 1999, who acquire fixed assets to improve their international competitiveness. The scheme offers finance available at low interest rate for three years after which prevailing normal IDC variable rate will apply.
  • The Bank Indemnity Scheme is available to small or medium enterprises where contribution and collateral totals at least 50% of facility granted. The scheme offers an indemnity to banks against 60% of loss, to a maximum of R400 000 per client.
  • The Ecotourism Scheme is available to institutions which provide additional accommodation in conservation areas under control of conservation authorities and in national game reserves of 10,000 ha or larger. Owner must finance at least 40% of the value of total assets. The scheme offers a loan at IDC rates or by risk participation.
  • The General Tourism Scheme is available to institutions, which provide accommodation to bona fide tourists or upgrading or improving existing facilities; also selected new

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    developments. Turnover from accommodation (including meals) should be at least 70% of total turnover. Owners’ equity must finance at least 40%of total assets. Facility must be suitable for accommodating foreign tourists. The scheme offers loans at IDC rates. Maximum funding is R10 million per project. The scheme includes a full range of support services.

  • The Low Interest Rate Scheme for Employment Promotion is available to manufacturers expanding capacity to create new employment opportunities:
    Total assets < R100 million
    Cost of job < R100 000
    The scheme offers loans at low interest rate for first three years, then prevailing normal variable interest rate. If cost per job is less than R50,000, funds will be available at low interest rate. If more than R50,000 and less than R100,000, applicant will quality for half of loan at low interest rate and balance taken up at IDC’s normal variable interest rate.

Research and Development Incentives include:

  • The Support Programme for Industrial Innovation (SPII) is available to all private sector companies in the manufacturing industry. The scheme offers a grant of 50% of actual direct cost incurred in pre-competitive development activity up to a maximum of R1 million.
  • Export Marketing Assistance (EMA) is available to undertakings registered with the Department of Trade and Industry. The scheme offers a portion of specified costs relating to exhibition, market research and travel refunded.
  • Steel rebates and steel concessions are available to exporters of fabricated steel products where 254% value has been added. The scheme offers rebates based on the value of exports.

There are two different programmes of Regional Industrial Development Incentives:

  • The Regional Industrial Development Programme (RIDP) is available to incorporated entities, branches and divisions, sole proprietors and partnerships. For expansions, application for

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    grant must be made before any investment is undertaken. For new establishments, application must be made with six months of commencement of production.

  • The Simplified Regional Industrial Development Programme (S RIDP) is available where the total investment does not exceed R2.5 million per enterprise (excluding branches and divisions).

Under these programmes:

  • The Establishment Grant (first 2 years) is a tax free establishment grant available for the first three years, provided that the owner’s equity contribution is valued at least 10% of total assets. There are two schemes:
    - under RIDP: the scheme offers a tax free establishment grant of 10.5% (6.3% in some metropolitan areas) of total operational assets which are restricted to R15 million. Quarterly payment of grant is subject to maintenance of operational equity of at least 35%.
    - under S RIDP: the scheme offers a tax free establishment grant of 10.5% per year on operational assets up to a maximum investment of R2.5 million. May be claimed quarterly.
  • The Profit Based Incentive (for one year) is available in all areas outside PWV/Durban core areas. The scheme offers:
    Tax deductions are based on the profitability of a new business/expansion:
    - under RIDP = 20% of profit before tax x 1+ 200% of return on assets. The profitability grant cannot exceed the establishment grant.
    -S RIDP = 25% of profit before tax - this incentive cannot exceed 2 times the annual establishment grant.
  • The Relocation Incentive (not available for S RIDP) is available in all areas except PWV and Durban core areas. The incentive is that if manufacturing undertakings are relocated from outside the Rand Monetary Area, up to R1 million per project may be subsidised.

The are also Investment Guarantees:

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  • The export insurance scheme provides exporters with insurance facilities to cover normal commercial insolvency and political risks that may prevent them from receiving payment for their goods.
  • Bilateral agreements for the promotion and protection of investment with various countries.
  • South Africa is a signatory to international investment protection agreements including the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency of the World Bank.

The incentives most likely to benefit SMMEs are the tax holiday and the schemes formerly managed by the Small Business Development Corporation and now managed by Khula Enterprise Finance Limited which include the provision of finance, business premises, training, information and advice, counselling, lobbying, marketing, sub-contracting and community projects. No enterprise is too small to be considered for assistance but enterprises whose gross assets exceed R10 million are outside the scope of these schemes.

2.5 Swaziland

The Swaziland Industrial Development Company Limited (SIDC) is the principal development finance agency. SIDC finances private sector projects in manufacturing, mining, tourism, commerce and service sectors and also provides assistance on business requirements and procedures. Other incentives include:

  • Business sites for industrial operations are available from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and SIDC. Ongoing expansion of the Matsapha Industrial and other sites is being carried out, along with the upgrading of the country’s infrastructure.
  • An export finance guarantee scheme.
  • Corporate tax rate is 37.5%. Further tax incentives are presently being considered, including the establishment of a duty-free export processing zone.
  • Guarantees against nationalisation of private enterprise.

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  • Dividends, interest and profits may be freely repatriated from Swaziland.
  • Double taxation agreements exist with South Africa, Mauritius and the United Kingdom.

2.6 Tanzania

The National Investment (Promotion and Protection) Act 1992 offers the following incentives:

  • First time investors receive a five-year tax holiday, followed by a reduction in tax rate up to five percentage points below the standard rate;
  • Exemption from important duties on all capital equipment and raw materials;
  • Exemption from sales tax on imports of capital equipment, materials etc.; and
  • A five-year tax exemption applies to withholding tax on dividends, royalties, and interest payments, followed by reduced rates.

Export Incentives include:

  • Liberalisation of export licensing;
  • Export guarantee scheme run by the central bank; and
  • Duty drawback scheme.

Other incentives include:

  • The foreign exchange restrictions contained in the Foreign Exchange Act (1992) and Foreign Exchange (Bureau de Change) Order 1992 have been removed
  • Investors are allowed to retain up to 50% of their net foreign exchange earnings for purposes of remittance of dividends, profits and settlement of external obligations.
  • Extensive guarantees are provided to investors under the Investment Promotion Centre’s Certificate of Approval, such as guarantees regarding and ownership of properties, dispensation of assets, repatriation of income and others.
  • Tanzania is a member of multilateral arbitration agencies in

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    case of disputes concerning investors, including the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).

To qualify for and obtain Tanzania Investment Centre ‘Certificates of Incentives’, the minimum fixed investment in „New, Rehabilitation or Expansion" projects should be at least US$100 00 for projects which are owned 100% by Tanzania citizen(s) or locally registered company with a majority shareholding by Tanzania citizens(s); and US$300 000 for projects which are not so owned

The Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) provides assistance to persons applying for ‘Certificates of Incentives’. It takes up to 30 days to obtain a TIC Certificate of Incentives (the committee which approves the issue of Certificate of Incentives meets once per month).

2.7 Zambia

The Investment Act of 1993 offers a range of general incentives including:

  • Investors who qualify for special incentives under the Act are entitled to exemption from customs duty and sales tax on all machinery and equipment required for establishment, rehabilitation or expansion of that enterprise;
  • Duty-free exemption for agriculture and mining machinery;
  • 5% customs duty on other capital machinery;
  • Duty exemptions on raw material imports of organic and inorganic chemicals, iron and steel, rubber and plastics;
  • 5% duty on other raw materials;
  • 15% duty on intermediate goods;
  • 25% duty on final products;
  • 15% income tax on non-traditional exports;
  • Corporation tax on companies listed on the Lusaka Stock Exchange is 30%, compared to the normal 35% corporate tax;
  • No foreign exchange controls; and
  • A guarantee against the compulsory acquisition of property.

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Special incentives, which are additional to general incentives are offered to investors who specialise in:

  • Rural enterprises;
  • Export of non-traditional goods and agricultural products; and
  • Import substitution activities.

Additional incentives for agricultural enterprises include:

  • 15% income tax on farming profits;
  • Full tax allowance for outlay on land development, conservation and other costs;
  • Substantial rate of depreciation allowing farm machinery to be rapidly written off against tax;
  • Special development allowances for growing certain crops such as tea, coffee and citrus fruits; and
  • Repatriation of a proportion of after-tax profits.

Incentives relevant to the tourism industry are under review.

The Investment Act of 1993 also provides for the establishment of the Investment Centre and the Investment Centre Board. The Investment Centre is charged with the responsibility of promoting, coordinating, regulating and monitoring investment and rendering as a one-stop facility, support and services to investors in Zambia. In addition, the centre provides consultancy services to investors, collects and disseminates information on relevant laws and regulations as well as technical matters and other details and undertakes economic and sector studies, including market surveys.

Incentives available under the Act may be enjoyed by any type of investor whether foreign or local, small scale or large scale.

The Act provides for the issuance of an investment certificate which enables the investor to apply for and acquire land, which in normal circumstances can only be held by Zambians and Zambian owned companies. The obtaining of an investment certificate also facilitates the process of acquiring immigration status for non-Zambians. Companies wishing to obtain an Investment Certificate are requested to submit to the Investment Centre a completed application form accompanied by:

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  • a business plan or feasibility study;
  • a copy of the Certificate of Incorporation;
  • an official list of shareholders;
  • a letter from bankers stating the investor's ability to meet funding requirements of the project;
  • where the investor is applying for an agricultural or tourist enterprise, certificate of title, or lease agreement in respect of the land to be used for the business.
  • If the applicant intends to establish a tourist enterprise, a Tourist Enterprise Licence or a letter from the Zambia National Tourist Board stating that an application for the licence has been submitted.
  • A processing fee of US$250 + VAT
  • A licence fee of US$1 000 + VAT

The business plan should include the following:-

  1. Particulars of the Applicant
  2. Details of the company's current operations
    Existing companies that wish to expand their business operations must indicate their levels of production, employment, turn over etc., for the past three years and their projected production levels, employment, turn over, etc.
  3. Details of the machinery and equipment
    The conditions of both new and existing various types of machinery and equipment to be used in the project their ages and market values must be stated.
  4. Details of the management
    The adequacy of management to manage the proposed enterprise must be explained. The curriculum vitae and business references for key management staff must be included.
  5. Other details such as the location both physical and postal of the business, the technology to be employed, the product/service range to be produced and or distributed, the marketing and sales strategies to be employed, etc.

The Investment Centre issues the certificate within six weeks of

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receipt of application and the decision of the Centre in respect of an application is communicated to the applicant in writing within fourteen days of the decision.

2.8 Zimbabwe

Incentives for investors include:

  • Dividend remittance for companies set up after May 1, 1993, is now 100% and payment is effected through the inter bank market;
  • Foreign investors may hold up to 25% equity in companies operating in preferred sectors of the economy, i.e. those sectors other than specified in SI 108 of 1994;
  • Exporters are entitled to retain 100% of their export proceeds with authorised dealers in corporate Foreign Currency Accounts (FCAs);
  • Investment inflows and capital transfers are eligible for 100% deposits into FCAs;
  • Exemptions from import tax (sales tax), surtax and customs duty on equipment and machinery imported for productive purposes;
  • Flexibility in recruitment and engagement of expatriate personnel with maximum contract periods of up to five years;
  • Investors investing significant sums in Zimbabwe Investment Centre approved projects are eligible to acquire permanent residency, depending on amounts involved; and
  • 25% Special Initial Allowance on cost of industrial and commercial buildings and machinery is granted as a tax rebate for the first four years.

There are additional incentives for setting up in „Growth Point Areas":

  • 10% corporate tax on net profits in the first five years; and
  • 15% investment allowance on cost of investment.

Incentives applicable to Export Processing Zones (EPZs) are:

  • Exemption from withholding taxes on dividends, royalties fees

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  • Exemption of duty for goods imported into EPZs;
  • Exemption from capital gains tax, surtax & sales tax on goods and services;
  • Exemption from fringe benefits tax for employees of EPZ companies;
  • Five year tax holiday and 15% corporate tax after tax holiday; and
  • Permission of foreign companies to borrow locally.

The Zimbabwe government offers investors the following guarantees:

  • Repatriation of original capital investment in case of divestment;
  • No restrictions on local borrowing for working capital, repatriation of foreign currency, imports and import licenses; and
  • Zimbabwe is a signatory to several bilateral and multilateral protection agreements which guarantee security of investment and property rights of investors: UN Commission on International Trade and Arbitration Law (UNCITRAL); a bilateral Investment Protection Agreement with Mozambique; the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), USA: the World Bank’s International Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), and the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.

© Friedrich Ebert Stiftung | technical support | net edition fes-library | November 2000

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