Nqobile Tshili, Business Correspondent
INDUSTRY and Commerce Minister, Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu, has said a comprehensive stakeholder input is required in mapping concrete steps towards revival of industry in the country.
He called on captains of industry and academia to join hands with Government and pledged urgent consultative engagements, which will inform adequate policy formulation.
“The starting point would be to have stakeholder interactions. We are working with captains of industry. We want to also integrate academia. We want to integrate with Government institutions. We want to engage big and small players, we want to try to and come up with proposals that are an input of everyone,” said Minister Ndlovu.
“We will take it from there and we will see if there is a need for any policy intervention, any need for budgetary support, any need for incentive. But it has to be a result of an interactive process.”
The minister said he was inspired by the optimism shown by the business sector but quickly stated that the journey ahead requires commitment as there is a big task ahead.
“Zimbabweans are committed, this time we have the energy. We have the right mindset but the task before us is not an easy one,” he said.
“We will have to gear ourselves for hard work if we are to achieve what we want to do. If we are to have a middle class economy by 2030 we need to start working now.”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said the country should attain a middle status in the next 12 years.
Minister Ndlovu said the revival of the country’s industries was on his agenda and called for collective support. The country’s industrial sector is affected by several challenges including shortage of raw materials, foreign currency and use of obsolete equipment, which results in low productivity. The 2017 Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) manufacturing sector survey indicated that capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector was 45,1 percent compared to 47,4 percent in 2016.
Capacity utilisation peaked at 57,2 percent in 2011, before retreating to 44,2 percent in 2012, 39,6 percent in 2013 and 36,3 percent in 2014. The decline continued in 2015 when it hit 34,3 percent on the back of unrestrained imports, among others. This prompted the promulgation of Statutory Instrument 64 of 2018, which sought to restrict the importation of products that can be produced locally.—@nqotshili