SHIELD FOR LOCAL CONTENT Procurement policy on cards to bolster import controls CZI looks to synergies with farmers
THE Government is crafting a National Procurement Policy aimed at bolstering the country’s industrialisation efforts towards promoting economic growth, Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha said yesterday.
Officially opening the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) annual congress in Bulawayo, he said the policy would also complement the import management programme.
“To complement the import management programme, Government is currently carrying out stakeholder consultations with a view of coming up with a National Procurement Policy. The policy will be expected to buttress other industrialisation initiatives through meeting the local content threshold,” said Minister Bimha.
“The local procurement policy will go a long way in strengthening value chains as the need to meet local content requirements compels both Government and the private sector to procure locally.”
Of late, there have been calls to promote consumption of locally manufactured products as part of a raft of measures aimed at reviving the manufacturing sector which, among others, is grappling with stiff competition from imported products. According to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries manufacturing sector survey report for 2015, capacity utilisation stood at 34, 3 percent.
Due to the continued influx of imported products since the introduction of a multi-currency system in February 2009, Zimbabwe last year recorded a trade deficit of $2,88 billion.
When President Mugabe clarified the Government policy on indigenisation and economic empowerment, Minister Bimha said, the most important aspect of that clarification was that the Government was not looking at a one-size-fitsall model. “But,” he said, “particularly in the manufacturing sector where investors bring the money and technology we’re looking at a variety of possibilities in terms of what investors can do.”
Minister Bimha said the Government was implementing various sectorial strategies together with the private sector.
Among the sectorial strategies being implemented are the cotton-clothing, engineering, iron and steel strategies as well as the pharmaceutical development one.
“On iron and steel strategy, we’re looking at something broader than only Zisco. We should look at an expanded iron and steel sector because we’ve the resources to venture into those products that Zisco didn’t produce.
“So, we want to resuscitate Zisco, but we also want other players to produce those products that Zisco was unable to produce,” he said.
Minister Bimha added that the Government also wants to see the growth of a stainless steel industry as the country has abundant resources such as nickel, chrome and iron.
He said it was unfortunate that Zisco should have been up and running by now but the firm’s revival was hindered by political bickering in the inclusive government.
“However, it’s not all lost. We are engaging a number of aspiring investors in order to resuscitate Zisco and also go into other areas that l’ve mentioned,” he said.
Earlier on Minister Bimha spoke against the multiplicity of business associations.
“When we talk about industrialisation and Government policy, let’s look at business as one unit and get input from yourselves. But Government can’t come and legislate for that, but we think it should come from yourselves.
“You can stay as you’re but I‘m only saying we’re having problems with having a multiplicity of representation. As Government we believe in oneness and with one voice we hear you better than when you’re fragmented,” he said. CAPTAINS of industry yesterday pledged to increase their synergies with raw material producers particularly farmers as part of a drive to buttress value addition and broadening opportunities in the economy.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president and United Refineries chief executive officer Mr Busisa Moyo told delegates attending the organisation’s annual congress in Bulawayo that industry revival was hinged on a robust agricultural revolution.
He said CZI would push this drive to assist the country to re-industrialise and boost economic development.
“CZI continues to provide private sector-thought leadership that will assist in re-industrialisation and set precedence for economic development. It has to be accepted that few nations have reached their social or economic aspirations without some form of industrialisation,” said Mr Moyo.
“Whether it’s Singapore with its shipyards, Argentina with its beef industry ...this gives me hope that industrialisation isn’t a remote possibility but it’s something that we can achieve.”
This year’s CZI congress is running under the theme, “Strengthening value chains for sustainable industrialisation and economic development”.
Mr Moyo said the theme was hinged on the need to recognise and strengthen value chains within the manufacturing sector.
He said Zimbabwe’s industry was anchored on the agricultural output and that is why CZI recognised the need to look at strengthening value chains.
“Our industries rest on the bedrock of agricultural production, without agricultural output there are no industries to talk about. As CZI we’ve recognised the need to look beyond the machines that run in our factories and look to the sources of the raw materials that we process in our factories,” he said.
Earlier this year, CZI identified 18 value chains and the industrial representative body would continue expanding the list as a guide to research based on existing companies.
He noted that a number of such companies were operating in low scale output or broken value chains.
“The majority of value chains are steeped in some form of agricultural production base or an extractive industry. Infrastructure becomes necessary if there’s a private sector to support and the pressure to rebuild the infrastructure comes when there are value chains that are demanding infrastructure,” he said.
Mr Moyo said focus on value chains did not mean that CZI was ignoring the present challenges facing industry as such issues would be discussed.
Despite the support industries were getting from the Government, he said CZI was not resting on support from the Government.
Last month, the Government promulgated Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016, which removes several goods from the Open General Import Licence to control imports.
“We’re clear that such support is time bound as industry contrary to popular belief we’re not resting on support from the Ministry of Industry.
“We recognise that this is time bound and we must run fast to be competitive and not to be competitive locally but to be competitive in terms of exports,” he said.
Minister of Industry and Commerce Mike Bimha addresses delegates at the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries congress in Bulawayo yesterday while CZI president Mr Busisa Moyo, and inset, delegates follow proceedings