Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
INDUSTRY and Commerce Minister, Dr Sekai Nzenza, has urged adoption of a multi-sectoral approach in revitalising key industrial value chains and increasing domestic production with focus on substituting imports.
Addressing captains of industry at the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) annual congress in Victoria Falls last week, she said the country has embraced a global value chain outlook and was learning from international best practice in a bid to transform its economy in line with the National Development Strategy (NDS1) objectives.
The country is driving towards achieving an upper middle-income society by 2030, which is anchored on boosting local production creating more jobs.
As such, Dr Nzenza said the Second Republic under the leadership of President Mnangagwa recognises the importance of private sector as an engine for economic growth and development.
“We need to take a multi-sectoral approach in each product so that when we embrace the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, we are talking about local production,” she said.
“Greater strides are being accomplished in different sectors as we take the value chain centre approach in industrialisation.
We aim to reverse the importation of raw materials outside Zimbabwe and focus more closely on a value addition approach where we promote local production.
“I, therefore, want to commend the input from ZNCC who are consistent in providing business intelligence, which enables the Government to review best practice processes and strategies.”
Dr Nzenza said the Ministry of Industry was closely working together with the private sector and partners to find local solutions to global economic challenges such as rising fuel and energy prices.
She expressed concern over skyrocketing prices, particularly of basic goods, which she said affects the ordinary consumer.
In this regard, she said the Government’s role was to facilitate a supportive policy framework and creating an enabling environment that promotes sound business operations while ensuring product availability and affordability.
This year’s ZNCC congress was held under the theme: “Bolstering resilience and innovativeness for sustainable growth”, which Dr Nzenza said was premised on the recognition of the resilience of the Zimbabwean business community.
Major discussions were around bolstering resilience and innovation for sustainable growth, private sector preparedness on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area and currency and policy issues.
The minister said there were several locally produced products such as cement that support downstream industry and infrastructure development and leather, which were impacting positively on the economy.
Dr Nzenza said the Second Republic was changing the trajectory and looking at what the country has locally and leveraging on technology and digitalisation.
She said Government was already registering some green shoots in industry, among them reduction of time taken to clear haulage trucks at ports of entry from three days to 20 minutes, although there was still need to do away with delays along the country’s roads where the same trucks are held back at roadblocks.
There is a need to also address policy inconsistencies to enhance the ease of doing business, she said.
The minister said it was critical to look at what the second half of the year has in store for the country, with value addition, reversing import and export of raw material under focus.
She challenged the ZNCC to align itself with international best practice and help tell the Zimbabwe story and attract investors while also helping implement lessons learnt from international exhibitions like the Dubai Expo.
Continuous engagement between Government and ZNCC also needs to be maintained to strengthen public-private relationship for progress and growth in Zimbabwe, said the minister. — @ncubeleon