THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) 2016 annual congress kicks-off today in Bulawayo, with focus on the country’s financial situation and value chains among other pertinent issues.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Running under the theme Strengthening value chains for sustainable industrialisation and economic development, the congress runs until Friday.
“This year’s topic seeks to identify what needs to be done to strengthen value chains, and, as such, there will be full participation of industrialists on a broader scope than what has been the case in the past,” CZI said.
The congress, CZI said, will also address a financing strategy for industrialisation and catalysts for sustainable growth.
Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha will officially open the business indaba today.
CZI said, the congress is expected to bring together experts in different economic fields.
Some of the speakers include Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, John Mangudya, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Energy and Power Development minister Samuel Undenge among others.
Organisers said the space along Josiah Tongogara Street between 9th and 10th Avenue will be blocked during the congress for exhibitions to give companies the opportunity to showcase their products and wares. This will give access to the general public, who would like to visit the stands.
There will be an awards night on July 28 covering categories such as: the exporter of the year; company of the year; energy efficiency award; company stocking highest percentage of local products and others.
The congress comes as Zimbabwe’s economy is in the deep abyss with a number of manufacturing companies having closed, downsized or operating below capacity.
CZI 2015 Manufacturing Sector Survey indicates that capacity utilisation within the manufacturing sector declined by 2,2 percentage points to 34,3% last year, from 36,5% in 2014.
This demonstrates the failure of combined government and private sector efforts to arrest de-industrialisation, mainly due to the absence of affordable funding to bailout struggling local companies.