Africa Moyo Deputy News Editor
The creation of a conducive operating environment for businesses through a raft of reforms has resulted in a rise in the quantities of goods produced locally, a development that is expected to boost the re-industrialisation drive being spearheaded by the Second Republic, analysts and ordinary citizens have said.
Locally produced goods are now dominating supermarket shelves after the Government took a deliberate decision to improve the operating environment, which saw many obstacles that were faced by entrepreneurs being removed.
Speaking at the 2022 Buy Zimbabwe Public Procurement conference and Awards Ceremony in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa praised local businesses for boosting production at the firms.
The President said when he commissioned the Highland Park Shopping Mall in Harare recently, he noted that about 80 percent of products on the shelves were locally produced.
In the last few years, locally produced constituted about 35 percent of those sold in shops, with the bulk imported mainly from South Africa, a development that saw Zimbabwe being a “retail economy”.
In separate interviews yesterday, economists praised the Government for addressing the bottlenecks that affected local businesses.
Economist Mr Persistence Gwanyanya said the surge in locally produced goods was commendable.
“The increase in locally produced products is expected to support the re-industrialisation imperative. Importantly, the growth in local production will support currency stability through import substitution,” said Mr Gwanyanya.
“Going forward there is need to continue supporting local industries to value add and beneficiate as a permanent solution to our economic challenges.
“Our economic challenges can be traced to the decimation of the manufacturing sector to 10 percent of GDP from a peak of around 25 percent in the ‘90s. The Buy Zimbabwe concept will go a long way in supporting the targeted increase in the share of manufacturing sector to 30 percent of GDP.”
Mr Gwanyanya said at this level, just like South Africa, “we are talking seriously about industrialisation”.
Pan African Chamber of Commerce board member Mr Langton Mabhanga said the growth in locally produced good “represents growth of the economy”.
“Capacity utilisation and new production plants have restored and created new jobs for citizens. Compounded with the fact that most of the new capital projects, retooling and new productivity modelled technologies are being funded by Zimbabwean resources, signals a growth trajectory of the economy as we pace towards the upper middle income status,” said Mr Mabhanga.
Mr Vusimuzi Dhliwayo of Bulawayo, praised the Second Republic for transforming the economy in a “short period of time”.
“The depths we were in before the coming of the Second Republic were difficult to imagine that one day, we will still have a Zimbabwean company operating. The situation was so bad, resulting in many citizens crossing the border to South Africa and others. But I like the stance taken by President Mnangagwa of inviting all those that want to come to the table to rebuild the economy.
“Now we are talking of local companies increasing production. I tell you that if we maintain this trajectory, we will be high up there in the next five years,” he said.
A Harare resident from Mufakose, Ms Blessing Maramwidze said she was unemployed since finishing university in 2016 but she got a job last year when she had lost all hope.
“I thank the President and his Government for working towards ensuring that people get jobs. If we keep on this track, I foresee the Government doing many more infrastructure projects as it will have more revenues coming from companies that would be operating and citizens employed,” she said.
Mr Nelson Hove of Zvishavane said: “There is a huge improvement in the way our industries are working. Everywhere you go, now you see some smoke billowing into the sky. Yes, we should be going green to minimise the smoke, but first we have to produce so that people get jobs and feed their families.”