VICE PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa says government is concerned that Zimbabwe is becoming a dumping ground for various products sourced from several nations, a situation that has resulted in the crippling of local industries.
Presenting the keynote address at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair’s International Business Conference in the city Wednesday, Mnangagwa acknowledged that the country has become dependent on imports from various countries with local industries failing to produce for export due to viability problems.
Zimbabwe is spending millions of dollars every month on imports which in most cases are cheaper than locally-manufactured products. The vice president said government is taking measures to stop this trend but also challenged local industries to be innovative in order to be able to produce goods that are competitive.
Mnangagwa said government supports industry’s in drive to retool and noted that the globalization of the world economy requires that industry and commerce adopt new ways of doing business.
Nation Madongorere, a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority board member, who was also a delegate at the meeting, said corruption in the country is a cause for serious concern which government needs to address. Mnangagwa acknowledged the existence of corruption noting that it is incumbent upon all Zimbabweans to fight the scourge.
A delegate, who did not wish to be identified, expressed concern over policy discord by government citing the case of the indigenization scheme debacle over which President Robert Mugabe had to intervene when two ministers clashed over the transfer of shares from foreign-owned banks to local people.
The Standards Association of Zimbabwe director, Eve Gadzikwa, also weighed in and said government has to lead in efforts to come up with a national brand or image of the country which can help make it a destination for investment.
Industry Minister Mike Bimha, who was among several cabinet ministers at the meeting, said government has set up a committee, which includes an inter-ministerial committee for national branding.
The International Business Conference has become part of the ZITF and brings together government officials and local, regional as well as international leaders of commerce and industry to discuss investment opportunities in the country.
This year’s event is the 10th edition of the conference since its inauguration.