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‘Drive own industries’

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Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara says Zimbabwe should promote its local manufacturing sector and process minerals to maximise on benefits.

Mutambara told parliamentarians recently that the country could not continue exporting raw materials as this reduced the value of its minerals and other products.

The DPM was answering a question by Dzivarasekwa MP Evelyn Masaiti (MDC-T) who wanted to know what government was doing in promoting the local manufacturing industry vis-à-vis dumping of goods from other countries.

“No country the world over has ever developed without driving its own local manufacturing capacity,” said Mutambara.

“As a government, we have a policy to encourage and support the local productive capacity, drive and support our ability to manufacture within our country and drive the capacity to process our own minerals.”

The question by Masaiti comes amid calls that Finance minister Tendai Biti should ensure his 2011 National Budget protects local products by reviving manufacturing industries to curtail the influx of cheap finished goods, especially from the East.

He said the country should start processing its own raw materials so that they were sold as finished products.

“We are sick and tired of exporting raw materials, raw copper, raw gold, raw platinum and raw diamonds. We should start the business in this country of processing our raw materials so that they become refined and have value. That is our policy position,” Mutambara said.

The DPM said the desirable situation was to protect and enhance the local capacity because under globalisation there was no way any country could have 100% protectionism.

He said Zimbabwean industries should proffer protectionism with a plan and timeline, and after that timeline they should be able to fend off competition.

“We must be able to compete against products from Mozambique, South Africa, China; meaning that as we promote our local players to produce and local industries to become players, at some point we are going to let them go and become competitors together with the other players throughout the world,” he said.

Mutambara said government policy was to ensure there was availability of products, which meant that products must come from the region and the world over, but at the same time become producers of what is consumed in the country.

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