The Government is prepared to provide incentives to companies that fund research and development as a means to boost industrial productivity, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa has said. Local industry has struggled to increase productivity over the years due mainly to high production costs caused by aged machinery as they fail to access cheap capital to retool.
The Government has over the past few years implemented a raft of policy measures including banning certain imports and hiking duty on some products to reduce flooding of cheap imports as it sought to protect the struggling local industry.
Coming from the background of a tough economic period when companies were unable to retool and capacitate themselves, flooding of imports was drowning an already suffocating industry.
In addition to supportive measures already in place, Minister Chinamasa said the Government was prepared to provide further fiscal incentives.
“Government will offer fiscal incentives to companies that expend resources on research and development initiatives. These initiatives will undoubtedly help enhance product quality, reduce the cost of production and improve price competitiveness,” he said.
“We are saying as Treasury if you feel that there are any fiscal incentives that we have not given please come and tell us. Give us ideas on the scope of incentives that you feel we should give in order to exploit various value chains.”
While local manufacturers have struggled to rejuvenate their performance, foreign players have found Zimbabwe, which is using the United States dollar as its anchor currency, a ready market for their produce, presenting problems for local industries.
The Government has adopted various measures to support the resurrection of local industry, including setting up the Distressed and Marginalised Areas Fund meant for struggling companies to access bail out financing. — New Ziana.