TREASURY sees an uptick in the country’s manufacturing sector growth post the general elections, driven by strong domestic consumption and exports.
BY PRISCA TSHUMA
Zimbabwe this week went for general elections which were characterised by delays in some urban centres.
The results for Parliamentary sets have begun trickling in amid indications that Zanu PF is currently leading. If the ruling party returns power, t seeks to roll out a new blueprint for the manufacturing sector– Industrial Development Policy (IDP) of 2024- 2030.
According to the Zimbabwe Statistics Agency, Volume of Manufacturing Index (VMI) for the first quarter of 2023 was 289.5, a year onyear decrease of 14.8% from 339.6 recorded in the same period last year.
The manufacturing sector has been hampered by factors, which include policy changes such as the lifting of import restrictions on basic goods. This affected the competitiveness of local products in both domestic and global markets.
The government lifted import restrictions on basic goods to mitigate escalating prices on foodstuffs, in May.
“The contribution of the sector to exports and progress in value addition has remained low on account of productivity challenges, high input costs and disruptions to supply value chains,” said the ministry in its 22024 Budget Strategy paper.
Through the IDP (2024-2030), the government projects a manufacturing growth rate of at least 2% per annum, growing manufacturing sector investment by 3% per annum, increasing manufactured exports by 10% per annum, and increasing the share of manufacturing employment to 20% by 2030.
This growth is underpinned by assumptions of productivity improvement, transformation and competitiveness.
To enable this growth, the ministry said adopt supportive measures such as improving access to funding; implementing the local content policy, ease of doing business reforms, economic empowerment, consumer protection and quality assurance programmes.
“Taking advantage of the strong linkages and interdependences between manufacturing and the agricultural sectors, special focus will be on Value chains development in areas such as fertiliser, Soya, Cotton, Dairy, Sugar, Leather, Pharmaceutical, Bus and Truck, Engineering Iron and Steel and Plastic Waste Value Chains, considered low-hanging fruits for a structurally transforming economy,” the report reads.
The strategy paper also proposed to implement measures that boost growth in emerging industries that adopt the latest technology for the innovation and new focus areas of lithium value addition, solar energy, recycled waste and enhanced value addition in the agro-processing area among others.
“The National Venture Capital Fund will be central in facilitating the establishment and development of emerging industries and start-ups, particularly from the country’s youths and women,” reads the report. The Finance ministry said it would continue to will continue to identify cost drivers affecting competitiveness of the productive sectors through the National Competitiveness Commission (NCC) and make recommendations for policy interventions.
“In addition collaboration between industry and institutions of higher learning will be sustained to ensure the country takes advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and new production and commercial technologies being developed at local universities,” added the ministry. – Zimbabwe News Hawk