Enacy Mapakame Business Reporter
Buy Zimbabwe says it is satisfied with the progress Government is making in value chains development across sectors, as a means to boost industry and achieve an all-inclusive growth.
Value chains are crucial to industry due to their focus on the sub-sectors that are most relevant for job creation, strengthen enterprises, business relationships and services, market structures as well as the business environment so that they channel more benefits to the local people.
At a recent workshop on value chains development held in the capital, Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu indicated Government’s commitment towards promoting value chains across industry through value addition and beneficiation as well as promoting import substitution.
He said some of the value chain strategies were already being implemented, for instance, the cotton to clothing, leather and pharmaceuticals value chains.
This, Buy Zimbabwe said, was a step in the right direction for local industry and efforts to promote consumption of locally manufactured goods.
Substituting imports like pharmaceuticals, packaging material, dairy products, packaging material and other agriculture products such as crude soya bean oil and grain which will help save the much needed foreign currency.
“It is encouraging as Buy Zimbabwe to note that, the ministry supports the production and consumption of local products. Buy Zimbabwe has been at the forefront calling on Government to create policies that support local industries which leads to job creation and economic growth,” said Buy Zimbabwe.
Buy Zimbabwe is an opportunities; linkages and market access organisation that leads in the promotion and facilitation of the preference of quality and competitive Zimbabwean products and services through stakeholder engagement, research and development, capacity building and enhanced communication.
The Buy Zimbabwe initiative, an otherwise noble initiative created to boost industrial and economic growth by encouraging consumption of domestic products, faced several challenges due to competition from imports.
Experts said one of the major reason was the uncompetitive pricing on Zimbabwean goods, usually set at a premium relative to imports.
Secondly, the message to buy local took long to reach the consumer, its most important target, at a time when affordability was more important than the quality and origin of the product.
However, promoting local goods and services is critical in propelling investment, job creation and labour retention. Consumers provide key support to industrial growth when they purchase domestically produced goods.
Other countries have implemented the same strategy to promote their domestic products and boost their industry.
In 2001, South Africa launched a similar programme, Proudly South African, modelled on the Made in Australia Brand. It was a success.
Today, some products sold in Zimbabwean stores are emblazoned in visible colours the ‘Proudly South African’ label, indicative of the impact of the brand even beyond the South African borders.
Zimbabwe has however not relaxed in promoting consumption of domestic products to boost industry as well as job creation.
For instance, the Local Content Policy is expected to complement the value chain development as it is designed to build the capacity of indigenous firms and provide more opportunities for participation in business.
“Together with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Zimbabwe Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders, Buy Zimbabwe developed a ‘Draft Local Content Policy’ under the Rapid Results Initiative spearheaded by the office of the President and Cabinet in 2018.
“The Local Content Policy should stimulate the use of local factors of production, such as labour, capital, supplies of goods and services technology, research and development, to create value in the domestic economy,” said Buy Zimbabwe.