Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE implementation of the Zimbabwe National Industrial Development Policy (2019-23) is taking shape with focus on resuscitating strategic industries to foster economic growth towards an upper middle-income economy by 2030, a Cabinet Minister has said.
The new industrial blue-print was officially launched in June last year and seeks to capitalise on sectoral comparative advantages with a bias towards value chains.
Industry and Commerce Minister, Dr Sekai Nzenza, told industry captains in Bulawayo on Wednesday that the policy thrust would fortify growth of various industrial value chains.
“We are focusing on resuscitation of strategic industries and companies. We are also looking at developing and implementing industrial value chains,” she said.
“Matabeleland region is known for its beef industry and we are now ready to resuscitate that industry and develop the whole value chain whereby we will be increasing leather production.
“While Government is playing its part, the Minister acknowledged prevailing constraints that continue to frustrate productivity and implored business leaders to come on board and share their views on the way forward.
“We know there are issues of foreign currency, we have high inflation, the informal economy continues to grow at a very fast pace and our production levels are low. These are some of the challenges I already know as the Minister of Industry and Commerce,” she said.
In line with President Mnangagwa’s vision of increased industrial output this year, Dr Nzenza said Government was implementing broad-based economic empowerment and rural industrialisation programmes across the country.
These are backed by supportive budgetary allocations by Treasury, she said. “Our aim is to increase production not only in Bulawayo but across Matabeleland region. The Ministry has also facilitated the allocation of monies for the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe. Again, when we look at 2020, this budget will increase production,” said Dr Nzenza.
She said also increased production must be buttressed by competitive export processes so that the economy generates adequate forex earnings to meet its critical domestic needs.
While Zimbabwe recently joined the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Dr Nzenza said the challenge was now for the country to produce products that are competitive on the regional scale.
“It is Government’s role to engage with you as industry to see how we can best remain or become competitive. What we export has got to be of good quality, we cannot just export anything, it has to meet standards, it has to meet quality,” she said.
The AfCFTA, which is expected to boost intra-African trade, came into force on May 30, 2019, after it was ratified by 22 member countries including Zimbabwe.
The African Union believes this allows companies in the region access to a continent-wide market of 1,2 billion people worth US$2,5 trillion. Despite the outstanding issues, Zimbabwe this month officially joined the AfCFTA. Earlier, Government had said it would fully implement the AfCFTA after 15 years when the country is expected to have fully industrialised. — @okazunga