Zimbabwe must start producing instead of being a supermarket for other countries- Khupe says




Khupe in Parliament

Zimbabwe must revive its industry and start producing goods for export instead of being a supermarket for other countries, opposition legislator Thokozani Khupe told Parliament.

Contributing to the debate on the recent visit to Turkey by a Parliamentary delegation led by Speaker Jacob Mudenda, Khupe said Zimbabwe must implement what people see and learn during such visits.

“I visited Turkey with my son and what I saw there was amazing. The road network is something else. The manufacturing industry more importantly and when I saw their manufacturing industry, I thought of Bulawayo which used to be called Kontuthu Ziyathunqa,” she said.

“The reason why Bulawayo was called Kontuthu Zinyathunqa is because industry was operating 24/7. They were producing and exporting.

“If we look at Cotton Printers, National Blankets were producing blankets and exporting to other countries. G&D Shoes, our leather was the best. Merlin Towels, Cold Storage Commission and our beef was number one, first grade beef.

“You talk of cotton and tobacco, first grade. These are some of the things that we must learn from other countries when we visit those countries.”

Khupe said Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector used to contribute about 40% of the country’s foreign currency inflows “but what is happening right now? We are a supermarket of other countries”.

She said that when she went to Indonesia in 2015, the delegation was told that Indonesians wanted Zimbabwe beef because it was first grade beef but nothing had happened up to now.

“Zimbabwe is not exporting beef to Indonesia yet they are waiting for our beef. Why are we not doing that? We have got plenty of cattle or cows, why are we not exporting?” she asked.

The Cold Storage Company, the country’s largest beef processor, has been idle for almost 10 years.

The government announced two years ago that it had entered into an agreement with an investor, Boustead Beef, which was supposed to inject US$130 million to revive the CSC but the government was forced last year to place the company under corporate rescue after Boustead Beef failed to revive the company or to inject the US$45 million it was supposed to invest in the first year.

Ironically Boustead Beef, which claims that it is currently refurbishing the CSC plant to resume operations, has filed papers as the biggest creditor to the CSC.

Workers have brushed off claims that Boustead Beef is doing something at the plant as mere showboating.

HON. DR. KHUPE: First of all I would like to thank Hon. Shamu, the mover of the motion and Hon. Moyo the seconder. I would also like to thank the Hon. Speaker of Parliament who led this delegation to Turkey. Like Hon. Mliswa said, benchmarking visits are very important and as a Parliament, let us do more of these benchmarking visits but the bottom line is; after these benchmarking visits, what is more critical is for us to come back and implement what we will have learnt from those countries.

Madam Speaker, development is not rocket science. Development is about copying and discovering from other countries. So, as we do these benchmarking visits, we are going to those countries to discover what they did in making sure that they built their strong economies. We are going to those countries to copy from them so that as we come back, we replicate what those countries are doing. I visited Turkey with my son and what I saw there was amazing. The road network is something else. The manufacturing industry more importantly and when I saw their manufacturing industry, I thought of Bulawayo which used to be called Kontuthu Ziyathunqa .

The reason why Bulawayo was called Kontuthu Zinyathunqa is because industry was operating 24/7. They were producing and exporting. If we look at Cotton Printers, National Blankets were producing blankets and exporting to other countries. GND Shoes, our leather was the best. Merlin Towels, Cold Storage Commission and our beef was number one, first grade beef. You talk of cotton and tobacco, first grade. These are some of the things that we must learn from other countries when we visit those countries.

Like I said, our manufacturing sector used to contribute about 40% towards foreign currency inflows but what is happening right now? We are a supermarket of other countries. I think we must reverse that and we must reverse that through these benchmarking visits because we are going to these other countries and we are envying what they are doing. We are saying you are doing a wonderful job but why do we not come back and do exactly what they are doing, which is exactly what Hon. Mliswa said to say, when we come back let us implement.

We must come back into this House – recommend and we must make sure that those recommendations are followed through to ensure that something is happening. I went to Indonesia with the Speaker, I think it was in 2015. When we got there they said we have been talking to you to say we want your beef because your beef is first grade but up to now nothing has come out. The Minister then was Minister Made of Agriculture, can you imagine. But up to now, Zimbabwe is not exporting beef to Indonesia yet they are waiting for our beef. Why are we not doing that? We have got plenty of cattle or cows, why are we not exporting?

The reason why I stood up is to emphasise the point of implementing what we see in other countries. It is for us to make sure that we implement what we discover from other countries. Last week we were talking about our mineral resources which are God-given. Why do we not learn from other countries? The Speaker visited Dubai and I said last week that Dubai used to be a desert but look at where Dubai is. This is what we are supposed to be learning from other countries to say this place was a desert but look at where they are. Botswana, our neighbour used to be a desert. I remember the Minister of Foreign Affairs then who is now the Speaker of Parliament saying I first drank a coke in Zimbabwe when we were still a desert but look at where we are right now and look at where you are right now.

Madam Speaker, Zimbabwe used to be the envy of the whole world. Everybody was looking upon Zimbabwe. Let us get Zimbabwe back to where it was and we can only do that by implementing what we learn from all these visits. I would like to conclude by saying, let us do more of these benchmarking visits as a Parliament but the bottom line is – let us come back and replicate what we will have seen. Let us come back and implement what we will have seen from other countries, that is the only way we can develop as a country and Zimbabwe can become that breadbasket of Africa once more. That is the only way Zimbabwe can become that jewel of Africa once more. I thank you.