Minister addresses industry captains 

Source: Minister addresses industry captains | The Herald March 7, 2019

Minister addresses industry captainsMinister Ndlovu

Patrick Chitumba Midlands Bureau Chief
The Zimbabwean manufacturing sector has recorded some positives after exhibiting sluggish growth over the past three years, a Cabinet minister said on Friday.

Addressing captains of industry from the Midlands province after touring retail shops and manufacturing companies in Gweru, Minister of Industry and Commerce Mangaliso Ndlovu said the growth was promising.

“The Zimbabwean manufacturing sector has exhibited sluggish growth over the past three years. When assessed in context, the growth performance is promising as there have been many factors militating against local industry such as sanctions and use of the US dollar which has made it difficult for local industries to compete regionally,” he said.

Minister Ndlovu said a substantial part of the growth can be attributed to the Government providing various forms of support to local industry which include the Import Management Programme (SI 64 of 2016 later consolidated into SI 122 of 2017), facilitation of rebates on imports of capital equipment and raw materials and the RBZ export incentives which were introduced in 2016 to promote exports across all sectors.

“The use of the USD has been detrimental to local industry, making it less competitive relative to regional and international peers. This has resulted in the country’s trade deficit increasing. I, however, believe the recently promulgated currency reforms will go some way in ameliorating this problem

“ I want to implore you also to consider that foreign currency inflows received by Zimbabwe exceed those received by many of our peers on the continent such as Rwanda. Our manufacturing sector thus needs to complement our foreign currency generation capacity through greater utilisation of local raw materials and a more aggressive approach towards exports,” he said.

The Government, Minister Ndlovu said, is currently implementing the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), which crystallises the reform agenda of the Second Republic.

“TSP prioritises fiscal consolidation, economic stabilisation, stimulation of growth and creation of employment. The country aspires to realise Vision 2030 and attain the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In addition, our policies and aspirations are framed within the context of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063) and AU Agenda 2063. The Midlands province is central to the industrial development of our nation and achievement of all of the above,” he said.

Minister Ndlovu said in the Second Republic, it was necessary to deal decisively with economic structural bottlenecks adding that the 2019 budget reveals this commitment by Government.