Bianca Mlilo, Business Reporter
THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has called for the establishment of a Buy Zimbabwe Act, which will impose a specific local procurement quota to support the viability of local companies.
CZI president and United Refineries Limited chief executive officer, Busisa Moyo, said the economy was losing critical liquidity through continued importation of cheap finished products.
He said Zimbabwe’s obsession with imports was crippling the country hence the need to come up with a legal instrument that enforces buying local products.
Moyo suggested the proposed Act should make it mandatory for government departments, local authorities and businesses’ buyers to at least source 40 to 60 percent of products from local firms.
“The culprits here are the government, ordinary consumers and business itself. So, we’re all involved in this and that’s the challenge here,” said Moyo while addressing a business briefing in Bulawayo.
“We’re holding discussions at the CZI national council apex body to talk about some sort of a Buy Zimbabwe Act as opposed to indigenisation taking the only forefront.”
Moyo said it was disturbing that most businesses and government departments continue to export jobs through imports while thousands of Zimbabweans remain unemployed with factories operating below capacity.
“Probably the time has come for us to be bold about localising demand because the country technically can’t afford to continue on a $3.3 billion trade deficit annually without creating serious economic problems,” he said.
“The strange thing is that for the last six years this deficit has subsisted, which is very weird and doesn’t make economic sense because if your economy is $14 billion and you continue to have a deficit of $3.3 billion, it should take you five years to run out of money.”
Foreign-owned shops mainly in the retail sector have been accused of sabotaging the economy by flooding their shelves with imported products only while they shun local goods.
In 2012, Zimbabwe came up with a “Buy Zimbabwe Campaign” to champion the cause of local consumption with the hope of elevating quality local products and services in an environment where foreign products, most of them substandard, were suffocating the local industry.