Cabinet has adopted the Zimbabwe Industrial Development Policy (ZIDP) meant to increase industrial capacity utilisation and boost manufacturing sector contribution towards the gross domestic product (GDP).
Industry and Trade minister Welshman Ncube on Wednesday said Cabinet adopted the policy on Tuesday, but deferred debate on the report and recommendations compiled by the Let Bulawayo Survive ministerial team.
Ncube said Cabinet would debate the report during its next meeting on Tuesday where recommendations are expected to be adopted.
“The Cabinet discussed the industrial policy and adopted it. But the Bulawayo report will be discussed next Tuesday and it will be used in line with the industrial policy,” said Ncube.
He explained that Cabinet unanimously agreed the Let Bulawayo Survive report would be used together with the industrial policy.
State Enterprises and Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo has pledged to fully support the adoption of recommendations to revive the collapsed and ailing Bulawayo-based firms.
A total of 85 companies closed in Bulawayo last year, leaving 20 000 workers jobless due to lack of lines of credit and high utility tariffs, according to a report compiled by the Cabinet taskforce.
Ncube said the industrial policy would focus on pushing the manufacturing capacity utilisation from 45% to 80% between 2011 and 2015.
ZIDP is also aimed at increasing the manufacturing sector contribution to the GDP from 15% to 30%.
The government has set priority areas, food and beverages, clothing and textiles, pharmaceuticals and metals and electrical goods as pillars of the industrial development policy.
ZIDP will also force the coalition government to review downwards import duty on raw materials while a council for technologies upgrades will be put in place to coordinate the mordenisation of obsolete industrial equipment.
The council would also craft ways to upgrade systems and quality of products in line with international best practice.
Ncube said Zimbabwe’s neighbours, including South Africa, have clear industrial development policies while it was a herculean task to form one locally, due to a decade-long economic malaise.
According to the South African industrial policy, over 350 000 jobs should be created by 2020 in the manufacturing sector.