Boost local production to save forex, says Mnangagwa





HARARE – The local manufacturing sector should take advantage of several initiatives by Government to reduce import dependency and boost local production to save the much-needed foreign currency, President Mnangagwa has said.

Officiating at this year’s edition of the Buy Zimbabwe Awards in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa said the Government was putting in place additional measures to assist companies to operate at peak levels.

“I have instructed the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to regularly publish a list of all imported products. Thereafter, it is my expectation that the manufacturing sector begins to incrementally knock off products from that said list through local production.

“It also helps our science and technology students at institutions of higher learning to apply themselves to produce those products,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s industry has been on a recovery and growth trajectory, riding on the back of efforts by Government to create a stable operating environment through initiatives such as the foreign currency auction system.

Last year, Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector capacity utilisation rose by 10 percent to 47 percent despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mnangagwa noted progress that had been made by local manufacturers in boosting output, adding that an efficient local manufacturing sector was vital in view of increasing competition from the region.

“Our manufacturing sector has shown an admirable capacity to grow as reflected in the manufacturing sector survey and the number of locally produced goods on our shelves. 

“However, more still needs to be done by the sector to speedily achieve the targets set out in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) for the realisation of Vision 2030.

“On its part, my Government continues to implement responsive policies to create a conducive operating environment for local manufacturers. The NDS1 buttresses the value chain for the sustainable production and consumption of local products,” said President Mnangagwa.

“This is complemented by the Zimbabwe National Industrial Development Policy and the Zimbabwe National Content Strategy, which focuses on structural transformation, value chain development and entrepreneurship development. 

“These developments are expected to consistently facilitate rapid private sector-led economic growth. This is more so as we seek to achieve national self-sufficiency and to penetrate global markets, including the African Continental Free Trade Area, while maximising on the opportunities offered by SADC and COMESA,” said the President.

“The prevailing stable and predictable macro-economic environment that we have created must be the impetus to increase production, productivity and of course, profitability across the industrial value chains.

Speaking at the same event, Industry and Commerce Minister Sekai Nzenza said the positive efforts by both Government and the private sector had resulted in an improvement in the country’s exports of manufactured products over the past year.

“The export of processed foods increased by 18 percent. This upward trajectory is expected to continue under the NDS1,” she said.

“The cumulative effect of this growth trend has been the availability and affordability of basic goods and commodities to the consumer as locally produced goods continue to take up more shelf space.

“As an implementation framework for the strategic deliverables of import substitution, through increased local content and export development, the ministry has identified key value chains and is undertaking sector-specific strategies that include enhancing opportunities for value addition and the development of agro-based value chains in pursuit of rural industrialisation.”