ZIMBABWE will start implementing provisions of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) after 15 years to give the local manufacturing industry an opportunity to recover.
Despite being a member of the newly established AfCFTA, Zimbabwe will not immediately fall under the provisions and rules for the next 15 years.
According to ZBCtv, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo said this in Harare at a town hall meeting last Friday ahead of the World Economic Forum also known as the Davos Conference later this month.
The creation of the vast trade bloc of 1,2 billion people with an estimated market value of US$3,2 trillion is regarded as one of the greatest achievements by the African Union and is regarded as the biggest highlight of Africa’s renaissance.
“The AfCFTA is going to allow the free movement of goods and people without any limitations and this will bring huge benefits to intra-African trade. However, Zimbabwe will be spared for the next 15 years because if we do that right away, we become a dumping ground of goods because at the moment we are not producing enough,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector was grappling to improve capacity utilisation to competitive levels due to a host of challenges it was facing.
The challenges include power supply constraints and shortage of foreign currency to procure critical raw materials or replace obsolete plant equipment.
In light of the challenges, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, which is yet to release results of the 2019 manufacturing sector survey, forecasts that capacity utilisation for the period under review will decline further to 30 percent or below from 48,2 percent in 2018.
The industrial lobby has said the manufacturing sector report for last year will be released mid next month so that it coincides with the monetary policy presentation by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mangudya.
It is hoped that this will allow the monetary authorities to capture issues concerning industrial production for stakeholders to caucus and find immediate and lasting solutions to boost output across the manufacturing sector in the country. — ZBCtv/Business Chronicle.