Manufacturing investments rise to US$340 million in 2016: Bimha

Source: Manufacturing investments rise to US$340 million in 2016: Bimha | The Financial Gazette December 22, 2016

GOVERNMENT says the introduction of statutory measures on industry has begun yielding results as indicated by the realisation of US$340 million worth of investments in the manufacturing sector in the year to date.

Giving an update on the state of the local industry, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mike Bimha said during the year most companies in the manufacturing sector invested in machinery and equipment for business expansion. A total 30 investment proposals worth US$91,2 million were also approved by the Zimbabwe Investment Authority to date.

Government came up with various statutory instruments that removed products from the open general import license, with the aim of enhancing  policy space  to the local  industry and competition of cheap  imports.

In the retail sector which is currently dominated by supermarkets a total of US$32,5 million worth of investments were realised in the year to date.

“We have also seen most retailers upgrading their shops to world class shopping areas with state of the art premises and equipment. Given this support I would like to urge private sector to commit   itself to price stability, quality  and excess supply  of their products for a better Zimbabwe,” he said.

Bimha said employment levels in the synthetic fibre and personal care products rose to  3423  from 2 663.

Going forward, he said funding for re-tooling would be mobilized by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to accelerate industrial recovery.

“Mind you this has not been for a long time. It is just a short period, so we believe as we go into 2017 we will again reap more success stories from these measures. I think if you recall what I told you we haven’t said there is SI64 and that’s it. We are also coming up with other measures to support, to re-enforce and buttress SI64,” he said.

“How are we going to do that? We have said to those companies who have been supported through SI64 that we want to give you room to re-tool and re-equip. Please come and see us there is funding to re-tool.

“We want to believe that these companies will listen to this call and they will come to seek funding to re-tool. We anticipate growth as a result of those measures and as a result of those companies re-tooling and re-equipping.”

Bimha added; “The RBZ is coordinating the facilities for those companies which have to re-tool and re-equip. We are even going further and saying it’s not only for those companies that have benefited from SI 64. It’s also for those companies that can show us that they will be exporting. So it’s also again to support exporting companies.”

He said the government was working on a local procurement policy to spur industrial growth while other interventions such as establishment of Special Economic Zones would also greatly aid industrial recovery.

“We now have legislation to regulate joint ventures. More importantly there has been clarification on our indigenisation and empowerment regulations and that clarification again augurs well for investment,” he said.

Bimha however said smuggling of goods continued to be a major concern, and should be dealt with to avoid retarding progress.

Government is also working on a local procurement or local content policy which is aimed at   encouraging   Zimbabweans to source from local manufacturers thereby boosting their capacity utilisation.

Capacity utilsation   according to CZI increased to 47,4 percent in 2016 from 34,3  percent 2015. This increase was experienced across subsectors such as dairy manufacturing, furniture baking and cooking, food processing and iron and steel aiming and other   sector.

Meanwhile, Bimha said the programe being implementing through his Ministry and a French  company Bureau  Veritas  resulted  in an increase in a level of conformity  on regulated  products to 68 percent from 32 percent. FinX