Local Content Policy achieves milestones

By ZBC Reporters

Government has made significant strides in replacing imported products on supermarket shelves on the back of the successful implementation of the local content policy in the last four years.

In that regard, Zimbabweans across the country are impressed by the availability of locally produced goods which are of competitive quality.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa in his speech at the 2022 Buy Zimbabwe Public Procurement Conference and Awards Ceremony in Harare this Wednesday, noted that he embraced Buy Zimbabwe’s produce and consume local concept, because he had noticed that a paltry 35 percent of locally produced goods in supermarket shelves was not ideal for an industrialising country like Zimbabwe.

One leading wholesaler noted that it is not surprising that retail and wholesale chains have been on an expansion spree based on the growing uptake of local products.

“There is a semblance of stability in the sector where retail and wholesale chains have seen an opportunity to expand. It is mainly because you can base your future growth on the supply of products from local manufacturers unlike relying on imports where the import market may be uncertain,” he said.

The local content policy has impacted the downstream industries, with manufacturing companies ramping up production to cater for increased demand hence the route of local production remains another way to the growth of Zimbabwe’s economy

Meanwhile, as the country targets to boost production of local goods, industrialists contend that firms should invest in machinery, scale up value chains and improve quality of products.

The continued rise in manufacturing capacity utilisation spurred by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Foreign Currency Auction System has resulted in increased production of local goods.

While the trend has raised optimism for further growth, industry is now focusing on investing in machinery.

 “It is all about a favourable condition or platform to ensure that the economy can benefit, for instance identifying the needs of industry, creating sustainable product value chains, import substitution and mobilising the relevant resources  for working capital,” said Mr Kudzayi Pasipanodya, Battery Manufacturers Association of Zimbabwe Chairman.

An Agricultural Expert, Tinotenda Mhiko, noted
the ability to utilise land on agro-based commodities as critical in increasing local products.

“The farming sector is a key component of this economy and if we are to put our resources together towards mobilising the relevant resources then the nation will not succumb to any pressures. Also, while the rise on productivity is commendable the big question is the ability to use the land for productivity and ensuring  sustainability  for local goods,” he said.

Speaking to ZBC News, Standards Association of Zimbabwe Acting Director General, Cosmus Mukoyi explained that while Zimbabwe is in the global trading arena, industry should improve the quality of local products.

  “There are competitors there and the big question is that are our local industries committed to standards, are they really complying with set prescribed rules or not. So for us, it is our commitment to work with industry such that it can produce the right quality of goods thereby maintaining local customer base and leverage themselves against foreign product competition,” he noted.

Despite challenges, commitment by industry to further scale up production is expected to reduce import bill pressures.