COMMENT: Politics of the stomach now a thing of the past

06 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
COMMENT: Politics of the stomach now a thing of the past President Mnangagwa

The Chronicle

WHEN the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) reported in March that Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector capacity utilisation had increased to 66 percent for the fourth quarter of 2021, the news was met with scepticism by the usual critics.

Wrote ZimStat in its quarterly Business Tendency Survey (BTS): “Capacity utilisation for fourth quarter 2021 was 66 percent, representing a one percent increase from the third quarter value of 65 percent with the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) standing at 50,7 percent, representing a 10 percent point increase from 40,7 percent recorded in the third quarter.”

Well, those who choose not to believe the statistics agency can travel to the country’s borders.

On Wednesday, we sent a team to Plumtree Border Post where it was observed that the number of locals travelling to Botswana to buy groceries has gone down by 68 percent following a steady rise in capacity utilisation in the local manufacturing sector.

The manufacturing sector is benefiting from the Import Substitution Strategy and Local Content Policy launched by the Government, coupled with the favourable ease of doing business environment.

As we reported yesterday, President Mnangagwa has on many occasions urged Zimbabweans to buy locally manufactured products given the significant growth of the manufacturing sector that has seen an increase in capacity utilisation and ease of doing business anchored by the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).

Manufacturing sector – Image taken from Shutterstock

Gone are the days when most Zimbabweans would cross into neighbouring countries to buy basic commodities such as cooking oil, laundry soap and rice, which were in short supply in local supermarkets.

Acting regional immigration officer in charge of the western region, Mr Blessing Marwa told our news crew that there has been a sharp decline in the number of cross-border traders and day trippers crossing to Botswana to buy groceries.

“At our peak before Covid-19, we handled between 2 500 to 3 000 travellers daily, but the number has gone down to 800 at the moment and this is indicative of a host of factors, which could be an issue to do with compliance to recommended Covid-19 prevention measures, which require those fully vaccinated to cross the border,” he said.


“Another reason could also be the fact that most goods are now locally available and out of the 3 000 people that we normally handled before the pandemic, about 95 percent of them were people going to Botswana to access basic commodities and other groceries for resale, but we have seen a sharp drop of 68 percent of that figure.”

President Mnangagwa’s Government continues to deliver. The broad-based economic reforms introduced in 2018 are now bearing fruit.

Even the political cynics are now buying local produce at supermarkets where shortages are now a thing of the past.

Politics of the stomach is also becoming a thing of the past.

Investors are trooping in, jobs are being created, production is ever going up and Zimbabweans are being fed. These are indicators of a working economy.

Also, the dignity of citizens is protected when they don’t have to be the subject of abuse in other countries. This is because brick by brick, we are building the Zimbabwe we all want.

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