Govt urges retailers to strengthen linkages

Source: Govt urges retailers to strengthen linkages –Newsday Zimbabwe

THE government says the retail sector should strengthen its linkages with the productive sectors of the economy to promote a culture of manufacturing in Zimbabwe.

Speaking at the official opening of Edgars Stores Zimbabwe outlet at Ascot Shopping Centre in Bulawayo last week, former Industry and Commerce minister Sithembiso Nyoni said the retail industry should work with other sectors.

 

“Nationally, the commerce sector has experienced robust growth over the last few years and indications are that it will continue to grow. I am happy that Edgars Stores has come on board to contribute to this national vision,” she said in a speech read on her behalf by Industry deputy  minister Raj Modi.

“The distribution sector of our economy is key to fostering domestic trade and has a key role to play as intermediaries between suppliers and consumers.

“The retail sector must strengthen its linkages with the productive sectors of our economy so that we promote a culture to manufacture in Zimbabwe in order to ensure our consumers can buy locally produced goods.”

Nyoni said the government has made strides in improving the business environment by implementing the ease and cost of doing business reforms.

These reforms and other policy interventions spurred the country towards the US$8 billion manufacturing and commercial sector that was achieved at the end of 2023, she noted.

Nyoni revealed that the ministry was on a drive to ensure organised commerce and in this regard, will continue to work closely with both established retail chain stores and upcoming commercial entities to achieve the same.

She said since 2017, capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector has increased to over 60%. In addition, 80% of the basic products in supermarket shelves are now locally produced.

“Government is, however, concerned by acts of indiscipline being perpetrated by some among us and calls on members of the business community to maintain discipline in pricing our goods fairly and remitting our taxes to support revenue generation by government,” Nyoni noted.

“Government is aware that the formal retail sector has witnessed its fair share of challenges, including price escalations, exchange rate instability, power outages and subdued consumer demand.

“Government has however intervened with a raft of measures to bring normalcy in the marketplace.  Some of these interventions include a tight monetary policy intended to curb inflation that the government is implementing and the commissioning of Hwange Unit 7 and 8 to increase power generation.”

The government also noted that unfair competition from the informal sector was threatening some retail businesses. The clothing retail sector is also negatively affected by illegal imports of second-hand clothing.

“Government is continually addressing the challenges posed by our porous borders. Efforts will continue to level the playing field between formal and informal businesses,” Nyoni said.

She challenged retailers and wholesalers to advance the interests of consumers ahead of profiteering, noting that consumers continue to lament over the ever-increasing prices of goods and services, among other business mal-practices.

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