Newly appointed Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha will officially open the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) annual congress set for Bulawayo next month.The congress will run from 9 to 11 October under the theme, “Re-imperatives for reversing de-industrialisation”
CZI chief executive Mr Clifford Sileya told Business Chronicle at their offices in Bulawayo yesterday that the congress would discuss economic recovery and business opportunities existing in the city.
An economic commentator, Dr Eric Bloch and other officials from the World Bank and Africa Development Bank as well as Industrial Development Bank South Africa, were expected to address delegates at the congress.
“Preparations for the congress are going on well. We have been waiting for the announcement of a new Cabinet and because it is now in place, Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha will be the guest of honour at the congress, which he will open on 9 October.
“We are also hoping to bring at the congress other Government ministers whose portfolios have an economic bearing. Such ministries include finance, indigenisation and agriculture.
“When you look at Zimbabwe, our industry is agro-based; 60 percent of our industries are into agro business so we would want to invite the Minister of Agriculture and experts in Agriculture as well as mining because industry is also centred on resources on the ground,” he said.
Mr Sileya said this year’s CZI congress was a special one.
“It is a special one because previously our congresses were held outside the main cities in places such as Victoria Falls and Nyanga but this year we are having it in Bulawayo as a deliberate decision.
“This is because of a special case of Bulawayo industries, there is de-industrialisation in the city and as CZI we want to show solidarity with our colleagues in the city,” he said.
He said Bulawayo was endowed with vast opportunities for industrial growth despite the city having been touted as having crumbled in the recent years.
“We tend to say there is nothing in Bulawayo but there are a lot of opportunities for industrial growth.”
He said Zimbabwe was still in “serious” crisis of liquidity needed to re-ignite the manufacturing sector.
According to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), the manufacturing sector needs an estimated $2 billion to restore productivity to competitive levels.
“During the congress once our situation is defined, we hope that with policies such as the indigenisation and economic empowerment, industry will be able to restore productivity.
“The indigenisation law is a clear and very important policy and according to President Mugabe in his inauguration speech, it (indigenisation) has to be implemented with flexibility in some companies. For example, the Essar deal was handled with flexibility, which will unlock investment into the country,” he said.
More than 100 delegates are expected at the congress.