INDUSTRY and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza has said Government is crafting a roadmap, laying out medium to long-term strategy for re-industrialisation.
Dr Nzenza, who assumed the ministry in a recent Cabinet reshuffle, said key aspects the blueprint would focus on include addressing the bottlenecks putting most Zimbabwean companies below par to its southern African competitors.
Before joining the ministry, Dr Nzenza was the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.
The strategy would be largely anchored on overhauling outdated production models through utilisation of modern technology to enhance efficiency, targeting specific sub-sectors with potential of quick turnaround to create jobs as well as expanding the country’s export base, which is more dominated by raw minerals.
Minister Nzenza said the industry roadmap was likely to be released by end of next month.
“We are already hitting the ground running; identifying key priority areas. We will be more focused; to be more targeted in our approach,” said Minister Nzenza.
Zimbabwe’s manufacturing industry remains one of the key economic sectors and used to account for about 12 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
It also used to process about 65 percent of farm output and was a significant employer.
Many companies are still using outdated equipment due to funding constraints.
This year, the Government projects the manufacturing industry to register a 0,1 percent growth rate, but the industry say it is a bit on the low side. What the limited growth is also signalling is that the country will continue to depend on imports.
This militates against the efforts to boost foreign currency inflows and job creation.
Zimbabwe’s inability to produce its own goods and services has it even importing toothpicks.
Minister Nzenza said it was critical for local companies to partner tertiary institutions in an effort to seek solutions needed to drive the country’s re-industrialisation.
“We need to adopt an innovative approach through harnessing (innovative) ideas from graduates and non-graduates. We can’t continue looking at the industry as usual,” said Minister Nzenza, who previously worked in the private sector locally and abroad.
Some of the key sectors that blueprint would focus on include leather industry, pharmaceutical industry and agro-processing sectors as well as the revival of Ziscosteel.
Ziscosteel closed operations in 2008 after it got hit by operational and financial challenges. Since then, several efforts have failed to yield results, with the company remaining closed.
Minister Nzenza said she also met the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe with regards to reviving CAPS Pharmaceuticals, which the Government owns about 68 percent.
She said she would engage the central bank over export incentives that can be given to boost exports.
Realising the need to capacitate the local industry, Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube in his 2020 $63,6 billion budget, announced a host of measures and incentives for the manufacturing sector.
He also introduced measures to support the agriculture sector, the major supplier of industrial raw materials for the manufacturing sector.
Some of the sectors the Finance Minister targeted include dairy, pharmaceutical, tourism, agro-processing and motor industry.