via Revise indigenisation — Mliswa | The Financial Gazette by Clemence Manyukwe 24 Oct 2013
ZANU-PF Hurungwe West Member of Parliament Temba Mliswa has implored government to revise the indigenisation and empowerment programme so that more people, instead of only a few connected individuals, would benefit from it.
He also called on government to “walk the talk” on indigenisation and stop hiding behind sanctions.
Making his maiden speech in Parliament last week, Mliswa pointed out that the current indigenisation and empowerment model made it difficult for people to associate themselves with the programme and this, he said, was a compelling reason to revise and perfect its implementation.
The MP, who is also the chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education, Sport and Culture, said politicians should not blame everything on sanctions but instead should identify those actions that could be implemented to effectively address challenges facing the country.
While the manufacturing sector is collapsing, government is importing goods from western countries to the benefit of industries in those countries, instead of coming up with policies to revive troubled companies, Mliswa said.
He cited the importation of expensive cars from Germany when it could have made more sense to resuscitate Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries, which would in turn create employment for locals.
“On manufacturing and empowerment, I think it is important that we walk the talk. Here, we are seated and I hasten to say that surely it cannot all be sanctions. Buying Ford which is a British car has nothing to do with sanctions. Buying Range Rover which is a British car has nothing to do with sanctions. Buying Mercedes Benz which is a German car has nothing to do with sanctions,” Mliswa said.
“Madam Speaker Ma’am, we have to grow our industry. Willowvale (Mazda) Motor Industries is not producing cars. There is unemployment at the highest level. The very same Ford cars which I am even driving must be manufactured at Willowvale (Mazda) Motor Industries.”
He added that most goods in local shops were from foreign countries which means that Zimbabwe is using scarce cash to strengthen foreign economies.
In the meantime, local industries are going down with no rescue plan in place.
Mliswa said President Robert Mugabe has provided the vision for the nation, but those tasked with implementating it were found wanting.
He added that timeframes must be set to ensure that those holding public positions deliver within stipulated periods than leaving it open ended.
Mliswa also said that some market opportunities were being missed because there was no investment made in the beneficiation of local products.
“In 1995, two tomato processing plants were set up, one in Norton and another in Bulawayo. The one in Norton was Zagrinda. Zagrinda would do 240 tonnes of tomatoes per day which is eight truck loads. There was already a 65 percent up-take of those tomatoes being bought by an Italian company,” said Mliswa.
“What I mean is that there was a market and that 60 percent of those tomatoes processed would end up in a country which needed them. We have failed to get our own tomatoes processed so that the farmers are able to generate income and some foreign currency from the 65 percent up-take which would go to these countries.”
But it is on the empowerment front where Mliswa has amplified the idea that he espoused long before he came to Parliament.
While on paper empowerment appears to be a progressive initiative, many still feel that the current model is not broad-based and does not give communities direct ownership of resources.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, Gideon Gono, has proposed a more progressive empowerment policy whereby small scale firms could be given preference during the procurement of goods and services by established corporates.