Industry calls for Local Content Strategy action plan 

Source: Industry calls for Local Content Strategy action plan | The Herald 20 AUG, 2019

Industry calls for Local Content Strategy action planDr Gift Mugano

Michael Tome Business Reporter
INDUSTRIALISTS and economic stakeholders have called for an action plan to the recently introduced Local Content Strategy (LCS) in an effort to move away from the chronic theorisation of critical recommendations and policy without implementation by Government and private sector alike.

This was revealed at the Buy Zimbabwe breakfast meeting held at the ongoing Zimbabwe Agricultural Show which was aimed at identifying low hanging fruits that local industry can take advantage of.

The development comes at a time when Zimbabwe is grappling with incessant imports of goods which can
be made locally from as low-tech as tooth picks to heavy machinery.

Local Content Strategy forms part of interventions which Government is instituting towards management of the country’s import bill, which has resulted in scarcity of foreign currency needed for the import of key commodities such as raw materials, fuel, medicines and equipment.

Some of the sectors identified in the Local Content Strategy include pharmaceuticals, oil seeds, dairy, horticulture, clothing and textiles, leather and leather products, fertiliser and chemicals, soaps and detergents among others.

While addressing delegates at the meeting renowned economist Dr Gift Mugano appealed for an action plan to the LCS to avert chances of mere talk without implementation. He implored productive sectors of the local economy to grow capacity use if the country was to have a stable and stronger currency.

“The ministry has launched Local Content Strategy which seeks to domesticate production of these items, but what we don’t have is an action plan. A strategy gives you direction of where you want to go but there is no action, so my submission is that we would want to hear of action from the different sectors we have, on what should be done to substitute imports in their respective constituency.

“We are importing goods worth $2,2 billion on a yearly basis, of things we can substitute locally, and we have just launched our new currency (ZWL) and it can only be strong if it is backed with production. Without production the currency will be weak,” said Dr Mugano.

Dr Tsitsi Choruma, a commissioner in the Public Service Commission weighed on the need to act on issues rather than constant deliberations that yield no action on the ground. She bemoaned Zimbabweans’ waste of intellectual capacity as they could not handle their own economy yet countries with low intellectual capacity were producing for export.

“The conversations we are having have been spoken about, other countries are moving forward , the models are there for us to implement, and I think  as Zimbabweans we continuously find ourselves being very capable of talking about what needs to happen but we are not acting.

“I have been to places where people have very low educational levels but the growth you see in those economies is amazing once you provide capacity and opportunities,” said Dr Choruma.

Paramount garments Chief Executive Jeremy Youmans bemoaned lack of will on the ground yet there were excellent propositions on paper.

“We have met year after year and we continue to say the same things but without implementation.

“The country needs confidence courage and commitment to do things on our own and move from constant dialogue without action,” said Mr Youmans.