Tap into opportunities: Minister

Source: Tap into opportunities: Minister | The Herald

Tap into opportunities: MinisterMinister Nzenza

Elliot Ziwira

Senior Reporter

The manufacturing sector should contribute to the economy by tapping into opportunities availed through Government policy frameworks, such as the National Industrial Development Policy (2019-2023) complemented by the National Development Strategy 1 (2021-2025), to ensure productivity and employment creation.

Speaking at the virtual 2021 Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) Economic Symposium yesterday, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza said the manufacturing sector should take advantage of NDS1’s thrust towards value chain and structural transformation.

“This Economic Symposium has come at a time when the Government has embraced the implementation of the National Development Strategy 1(2021-2025). The strategy is a five-year development plan that will guide economic developments in the country in attaining the national vision: ‘Towards a Prosperous and Empowered Upper Middle Income Society by 2030’.

“For the manufacturing sector, the underlying priority in the NDS 1 is ‘Moving up the Value Chain and Structural Transformation’, which is, generally, strengthening of value chains as a key ingredient for driving industrial growth and development,” Dr Nzenza said.

The symposium is an annual event where captains of industry converge to brainstorm and discuss the prevailing economic outlook. This year’s occasion, which began yesterday and ends today, was a joint undertaking between the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and CZI.

Minister Nzenza underscored Government’s commitment to the industrialisation cause. To that end, the ministry has formulated and implemented a number of policies and strategies in collaboration with the private sector aimed at spurring industrial and commercial sector growth as well as promoting investments. These policy frameworks include National Industrial Development Policy (2019-2023), sectoral, local content and industrial funding strategies.

“The ministry is already implementing the ZNIDP and we are happy that the private sector provided critical input in its formulation and is taking the lead. The policy guides the country’s industrial growth and developments, and is anchored on the strategic pillars of developing value chains, rural industrialisation, developing anchor industries, industrial clusters and commercialisation of intellectual property rights, among others,” said Dr Nzenza.

Under sector specific strategies selected value chains are being implemented. Among these are the motor industry policy, iron and steel, Zimbabwe Leather Sector Strategy (2021-2030), cotton-to-clothing, and pharmaceutical sector strategies.

Under NDS 1, Government has prioritised six value chains, which are agro-processing, pharmaceuticals, bus assembly, iron and steel and plastic value chains.

Industry is also set to benefit from the local content strategy being spearheaded by the Government in partnership with the Buy Zimbabwe Campaign, focusing on public sector procurement, mining, construction, retail and wholesale, agriculture and tourism. Steering committees have already been put in place to implement the policy.

Highlighting the aggravating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on industry, Dr Nzenza said the Industrial Corporation for Zimbabwe (IDCZ), has been availed a revolving fund to an initial tune of $240 million. In the 2021 Budget the IDCZ will get $1,9 billion to fast-track the industrialisation programme.

In addition, industry can tap into other enablers like the fiscal incentives intended to support the sector through granting of rebate of duty and on capital equipment, VAT deferment on imported capital equipment and granting of national project status.

Other avenues have also been opened up through the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) and the Government’s signing and ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfFCTA) Agreement which took effect on January 1, 2021.

Commending CZI on its obligation to the Manufacturing Sector Survey annually, Dr Nzenza said it was crucial that Government is advised “through evidence-based research on capacity utilisation trends across the manufacturing sub-sectors” where existing policies are assessed for their effectiveness and apprises made on corrective policy measures to be adopted.

The event was attended by CZI president,Mr Henry Ruzvidzo, CZI chief executive Ms Sekai Kuvarika, heads of other business organisations and captains of industry and commerce, among other dignitaries.