The stone that builders re­jected:

The Manica Post - - Front Page - Chido Chikuni Post Cor­re­spon­dent

DR GIFT Mugano, a young renowned econ­o­mist con­ducted an ex­cit­ing sur­vey on the 2016 State of the Man­u­fac­tur­ing Sec­tor. The study re­vealed that there was growth of the lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try as a re­sult of Statu­tory In­stru­ment (SI 64) of 2016.

SI 64 of 2016 is a Gov­ern­ment pol­icy mea­sure aimed at re­sus­ci­tat­ing lo­cal in­dus­try. The gazetting of SI 64 in June 2016 saw the re­moval of 43 prod­ucts from the Open Gen­eral Im­port Li­cense. Since then, SI 64 has been yield­ing pos­i­tive re­sults in the lo­cal in­dus­try.

SI 64 was strongly re­sisted by el­e­ments who wanted to see Zim­bab­weans in per­pet­ual suf­frage. Th­ese el­e­ments, who were mo­ti­vated by noth­ing but pol­i­tics, staged vi­o­lent demon­stra­tions in Beit­bridge, Harare and other parts of the coun­try, de­stroy­ing prop­er­ties wor­thy mil­lions of dol­lars. Now that the in­stru­ment has borne fruits, de­trac­tors now have egg on their faces. The SI 64 has be­come the bib­li­cal stone that builders re­jected, but even­tu­ally be­came the cor­ner­stone.

Dr Mugano’s sur­vey ti­tled: ‘The Im­pact and Short­fall of SI 64 and Defin­ing the Lo­cal Con­tent Al­ter­na­tive: from SI64 to Lo­cal Con­tent’, re­vealed that there was an in­crease in ca­pac­ity util­i­sa­tion by 13 per­cent, that is from 34.3 per­cent to 47.3 per­cent.

In sim­pler terms, ca­pac­ity util­i­sa­tion can be de­fined as a mea­sure of ex­tent to which the pro­duc­tive ca­pac­ity of a busi­ness is be­ing used. This could also mean that the ac­tual level out­put will be com­pared to the max­i­mum pos­si­ble out­put.

This year, In­dus­try and Com­merce Min­is­ter, Dr Mike Bimha toured Hanawa Su­per Foods, which is one of the di­rect ben­e­fi­cia­ries of SI 64. Hanawa Su­per Foods is lo­cated in Ard­ben­nie, Harare and spe­cialises in the pro­duc­tion of potato crisps.

Ac­cord­ing to Hanawa’s man­age­ment, man­u­fac­tur­ing of their prod­uct in­creased af­ter the in­tro­duc­tion of SI 64.

Ac­cord­ing to the Con­fed­er­a­tion of Zim­babwe In­dus­tries Ca­pac­ity Util­i­sa­tion Sur­vey for 2016 re­port, Sch­weppes, a man­u­fac­turer and dis­trib­u­tor of non-car­bon­ated still bev­er­ages, ac­quired 100 per­cent of Beit­bridge Juic­ing in 2014.

In ad­di­tion, Sch­weppes sup­plies orange con­cen­trate, orange oil, orange essence oil, min­eral wa­ter and grape­fruit juice also recorded a 15 per­cent in­crease in its sales.The re­port also high­lighted that Dat­labs, a lo­cal phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany recorded a 60 per­cent in­crease in sales while KDV, a lo­cal man­u­fac­turer of mat­tresses and beds, in­creased its ca­pac­ity to 85 per­cent.It is, there­fore, es­sen­tial for Gov­ern­ment to pro­tect the lo­cal in­dus­try in or­der to keep it vi­able for eco­nomic growth. In that re­gard, Zim­bab­weans should be en­cour­aged to buy lo­cal prod­ucts in or­der to prop up growth of the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor. Be­sides pro­tect­ing the lo­cal in­dus­try, SI 64 also seeks to re­duce the im­port bill. In ad­di­tion, SI 64 has a po­ten­tial to in­crease the lo­cal rev­enue col­lec­tion. Thus, in­creased sales from lo­cal com­pa­nies con­trib­ute sig­nif­i­cantly to Value Added Tax (VAT).

Pleas­ing to note is that some brands that had been miss­ing on the lo­cal mar­ket are now avail­able. There were many lo­cal brands that of­fered qual­ity prod­ucts rang­ing from cook­ing oil, snacks, pe­tro­leum jelly and de­ter­gents. For in­stance, lo­cal brands such as Ele­gance, Cashel Val­ley and Wil­lards had van­ished from the lo­cal mar­ket for quite some time. Most shelves were dom­i­nated by South African prod­ucts such as De­light cook­ing oil, Simba and Lays potato chips.

Pro­mot­ing lo­cal in­dus­try en­cour­ages em­ploy­ment cre­ation. When more lo­cal firms are func­tional, it means more jobs will be cre­ated for the indige­nous peo­ple, which is in line with the ob­jec­tives of the eco­nomic blue print.— Zim-As­set.

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