THE re-industrialisation of Bulawayo and other parts of the country is a key priority in the Government’s agenda as the new dispensation seeks to transform the economy and expand the job market, Vice President, General Constantino Chiwenga (Retired), said yesterday.
Once the pride of the country’s manufacturing hub, Bulawayo has suffered massive de-industrialisation in the last two decades resulting in loss of thousands of jobs.
Officially opening the Zimbabwe International Business Conference at the ongoing Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) 2018 in Bulawayo, VP Chiwenga said the re-industrialisation agenda was central in the economic transformation of Zimbabwe.
“Government is prioritising the resuscitation of closed, ailing and opening of new industries in Bulawayo and across the country. As you may be aware, most companies are now shells, with old and antiquated equipment, resulting in inefficient production,” he said.
“Therefore, it is important to recapitalise our industries, through collaborative efforts between the Government and the private sector.”
The Vice President said Government has taken a number of steps to assist the local manufacturing industry by facilitating a number of lines of credit with institutions such as the PTA Bank and Afreximbank. He said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has also engaged the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe to reduce interest rates on loans for productive purposes.
“The essence of the re-industrialisation agenda, requires that our industries are competitive at both the regional and international markets. The essence is to invest in efficient manufacturing processes that will give us a competitive edge on the global market in terms of product pricing and quality,” said VP Chiwenga.
“Once we become competitive, the growth possibilities for our manufacturing sector are immense.”
VP Chiwenga called upon business to take advantage of the Continental Free Trade Area, recently signed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and other heads of states in Rwanda, which he said will create a single market for 1.2 billion people and a combined two trillion United States dollars.
The Vice President said Government was also seized with harmonising investment laws and regulations to attract domestic and foreign investment. This includes capacitating the One Stop Shop Investment Centre in order to reduce bureaucratic red tape that was delaying the approval of investment proposals at the same time intensifying the implementation of Ease of Doing Business reforms.
“Another important variable to our re-induistrialisation agenda, is the development of modern infrastructure which is a key enabler to sustainable growth of our industries,” said VP Chiwenga.
“The availability of affordable and reliable utilities is critical in minimising the cost structures of the companies in order to improve viability and competitiveness.”
VP Chiwenga said commissioning of the $533 million Kariba South Hydro Power Station by President Mnangagwa last month, was a milestone achievement as it has added a further 300MW into the national grid thereby reducing power imports.
He said after Kariba, the Government was now focusing on Hwange 7 and 8, which is at the stage of financial closure. VP Chiwenga said Government had also sourced resources for the construction of Kunzvi Dam and through the $400 million facility with the Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG) and Transnet, acquired wagons and locomotives for the National Railways of Zimbabwe.
He said the Government is also mobilising resources for upgrading infrastructure in the ICT, health and educational sectors.