COMMENT: Businesses must help stabilise economy

12 Oct, 2021 - 00:10 0 Views
COMMENT: Businesses must help stabilise economy President Mnangagwa

The Chronicle

President Mnangagwa has urged Zimbabweans to buy locally manufactured products to support the manufacturing sector that is doing its best to increase capacity utilisation.

Delivering his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Friday, President Mnangagwa said the manufacturing sector is benefiting from the Import Substitution Strategy and Local Content Policy launched by Government.

He urged Zimbabweans to buy Zimbabwean brands which he said now dominate shelves of most retail outlets.

President Mnangagwa said the manufacturing sector on their part should broaden their research and development towards increasing the range of locally produced products.

He said the economy has registered significant growth in agriculture, mining, finance and other sectors resulting in an upward growth trajectory buoyed by a good agricultural season, firm international mineral commodity prices, stable inflation and exchange rates.

The increase in industrial capacity utilisation has seen most of the basic commodities being produced locally. The bumper harvest therefore had a positive impact on the growth of the agro-processing industry.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on its part, has been prioritising the manufacturing companies when it comes to allocation of foreign currency.

The challenge to industry therefore is to maintain or even improve on the momentum gained so that the volumes of imported commodities are drastically reduced. What is however disturbing is that during the past week or so, the economy has witnessed skyrocketing of prices of most basic commodities as businesses chased the parallel exchange rates.

This has to be stopped immediately as it is threatening to erode the economic gains so far registered in reviving our industry and stabilising the economy.

What is required now are businesses that strictly uphold business ethics as opposed to profiteering at the expense of consumers.

It is a fact that most Zimbabwean workers are paid in local currency and when businesses peg prices based on the black- market exchange rates, their buying power is obviously eroded. We are however comforted by the fact that the RBZ is seized with this challenge hence yesterday it engaged the business sector in a bid to find a lasting solution.

There is a need to put a mechanism in place to ensure locally produced commodities remain affordable to the majority of consumers.

President Mnangagwa has urged citizens to consume locally produced products but if the prices of the products are pegged based on parallel exchange rates, consumers cannot afford them.

Businesses, we want to believe, appreciate that they have an obligation to complement Government efforts to stabilise the economy.

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