Government to launch industrial policy

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The government will next month launch the Zimbabwe Industrial Development Policy aimed at setting a platform for revival of the countrys flagging manufacturing sector.

The policy seeks to transform Zimbabwe from a producer of primary goods into a producer of processed value-added goods for both domestic and export market.

It plans to increase capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector to 80% by 2015.
Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube last week said Cabinet had approved the implementation of the policy.

The launch is next month, but we are still waiting for the President (Robert Mugabe) to confirm the date of the launch, said Ncube.
Ncube said implementation of the policy was already underway.

Through the policy, the manufacturing sector contribution to the gross domestic product is envisaged to grow from 15% to 30%.
The manufacturing sector capacity utilisation has increased from about 10% in 2008 to 57,2% last year.

According to the draft policy, while it might appear the industrial value chain is complete; in sectors such as cotton, iron and steel and sugar, the level of transformation beyond primary processing still needs to be enhanced.

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.

The manufacturing sector is projected to grow by 6% this year benefiting from the recovery in both the agriculture and mining sectors.

While in 2012, the subsector anticipated to drive according to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry manufacturing survey 2011, low product demand, obsolete equipment and lack of working capital were the major factors constraining capacity utilisation.

The government last year launched the $40 million Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund to aid struggling manufacturing companies in Bulawayo and other parts of the country. Traditionally the countrys industrial hub, Bulawayo, has witnessed the closure of several big companies.