Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
GOVERNMENT is putting in place a policy framework that will increase industrial linkages anchored on value addition and beneficiation as key pillars of the economy.
Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said this yesterday in his keynote address read on his behalf by his deputy, Raj Modi, during the ongoing 9th Buy Local Summit in Bulawayo.
He said value chain development and beneficiation will ensure the country derives value from its primary resources while creating jobs and reducing reliance on imports.
In the past 11 years, Zimbabwe has faced a cumulative trade deficit amounting to $32,15 billion.
“Government is centred on developing and facilitating industrial linkages across key sectors of the economy namely, manufacturing, agriculture, mining and services,” said Minister Ndlovu.
“Value addition and beneficiation are the main anchors of the industrialisation strategy, particularly where there are opportunities to add value to local raw materials.”
He said Government would soon launch the Zimbabwe National Development Policy (ZNIDP) 2019-2023, which is centred on developing and facilitating industrial linkages across key economic sectors. ZNIDP is a key instrument for the revival of the local manufacturing sector and a vital cog to achieving competitiveness and growth.
“To buttress the ZNIDP, the ministry has come up with the Local Content Strategy (LCS), which is a major tool for industrial growth in resource-rich countries such as Zimbabwe.
“As our economy is agro-based, implementation of the LCS will promote beneficiation of our minerals and value addition of our agricultural resources, thereby creating employment along the value chains,” said Minister Ndlovu.
This will go a long way in promoting sustainable economic transformation in line with the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP).
Government has commended the Buy Zimbabwe initiative for spearheading and supporting LCS, conveying a clear message to all stakeholders to work and support local industrial development.
Government has also come up with sector-specific strategies such as the Zimbabwe Leather Strategy, Zimbabwe Cotton-to-Clothing Strategy and the Zimbabwe Motor Industry Development Policy (2018-2030) to uphold the country’s industrialisation agenda.
“These strategies are meant to enhance local production and bring positive growth in our manufacturing sector, hence team work in the implementation of these policies and strategies is critical,” Minister Ndlovu said.
He underscored the need for closer stakeholder collaboration and continuous constructive engagement to pursue the industrialisation agenda with a common vision.
Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs, Judith Ncube, noted that Zimbabwe’s external sector position has largely remained under considerable pressure, due to excessive foreign currency demand even against increasing foreign currency inflows.
She said the country was faced with a mammoth task of rebuilding the economy, increasing production, reducing the import bill and prioritising investment as key ingredients for powering the economy to attain an upper middle income status by 2030.
Minister Ncube implored all stakeholders to make concerted efforts to support the buy local initiative to reduce imports and localise investment to create employment and improve livelihoods of citizens. — @okazunga.