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CZI to adopt regional survey format

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NYANGA — The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) says this year it will shift from the usual industrial capacity utilisation to a more regional-based analytical assessment to gauge the competitiveness of local companies among their regional peers.

CZI chief executive officer Clifford Sileya on Wednesday told journalists that the confederation will overhaul the annual study on the manufacturing sector, amid concerns from organisations that previous studies were distorted.

“The problem is political. Some of the countries have indigenisation, but it has not been badly received as it has been like here,” Sileya said.

“Our politicians shoot from all angles like night cowboys.

“The survey will shift from capacity utilisation to competitiveness, as we will now have to compare ourselves to the region.

“Our industries need a lot of financing. Our machines are obsolete as they are old. Some of the equipment was bought before the current managing directors were born.

“Some machinery was bought in the 1950s and some even before that.”

He said local industries needed $2 billion to be capitalised, but prospects of raising the required funding were bleak as a result of the poor perception about the political situation in Zimbabwe.

Business leaders are meeting for the CZI annual general meeting expected to craft strategies for the financially-starved manufacturing sector.

The sector is hamstrung by a plethora of problems — obsolete machinery and stiff competition, especially from regional peers.

“The problem is that Zimbabwe is starved of foreign direct investment (FDI). There are no FDI’s to talk about in Zimbabwe,” he said.

“Our politics affects everything because of perceptions, but perceptions are realities of things on the ground.

“Even if you negotiate, you get promising noises which never materialise.

“For example, we had the P500 million meant to assist companies, but it never materialised although initial indications were positive.”

The last manufacturing survey showed that the average capacity utilisation, which in 2008 dropped to about 10%, had improved to 57% largely driven by strong performance of the beverages sector.

Sileya said some sectors were operating at 0%, warning failure by the inclusive government to source long-term financing could collapse some sectors.

Last week, Finance minister Tendai Biti revised the country’s growth forecasts from 9,4% this year to 5,6% as a result of a decline in agriculture, discord within the inclusive government and problems associated with the implementation of the country’s indigenisation laws.

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