Source: Zim becoming market for other countries: Mnangagwa – NewsDay Zimbabwe April 28, 2016
ZIMBABWE was slowly becoming a “market for other countries” with very little exports in return to drive the economy forward, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Addressing delegates at the International Business Conference hosted by the Zimbabwe International Trade (ZITF) company, Mnangagwa said the country was not doing enough in terms of exports urging the public and private sector to work hard to address the anomaly.
“Meanwhile, the government has noted with concern that Zimbabwe is slowly becoming a market for other countries with very little export in return. Efforts are underway to arrest the trend and revive domestic industry,” Mnangagwa said.
According to national statistics agency, Zimstat, Zimbabwe recorded a trade deficit of $323 million in the first quarter of the year.
The agency said imports to March amounted to $490 million against $167 million exports, which remained heavily skewed towards consumptive products following a significant drop in raw materials importation.
Most of the imports were consumptive products such as bottled water, sugar, soap, cooking oil, cellphone handsets, electronics, vehicle spares, vehicles, generators and second hand vehicles.
Cumulatively, to March, Zimbabwe’s imports stood at $1,3 billion, while exports amounted to $626 million.
Mnangagwa said there was need for a paradigm shift by industry and business towards the use of abundant domestic resources and skills to provide goods and services of competitive quality.
“This will in turn undoubtedly endear Zimbabweans to locally produced goods and make them competitive on the international market. To this end, government remains committed to assisting industry and business in their efforts to re-tool in order to ensure business viability,” he said.
He urged businesses to invest in innovation and technology to improve productivity and quality of goods and services.
During the question and answer session, Mnangagwa also spoke about the issue of corruption.
He urged both the private and public sector to fight corruption.
“For any country to succeed, corruption must be fought left, right and centre. Let it not be a duty of the government alone but everyone,” he said.
Asked by participants what the government was doing about the $15 billion money which President Robert Mugabe alleged disappeared in thin air, Mnangagwa said he “believes investigations were taking place” to ascertain whether the allegations were true or not.
The fair running up to Saturday under the theme Innovate, Integrate and Industrialise, would be officially opened by Togolese President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé tomorrow.
Sixteen countries, including Zimbabwe, were represented. These were Botswana, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Germany, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.
This year’s edition had attracted about 390 direct exhibitors, compared to the closing total of 387 last year. The figure included 32 direct foreign exhibitors, the same as was achieved in 2015.