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Govt, ZimTrade, OPC launch business rapid results project

Business
GOVERNMENT, ZimTrade and the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) have launched the Ease of Doing Export Business Rapid Results Project aimed at facilitating the increase of value-added exports for Zimbabwe.

GOVERNMENT, ZimTrade and the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) have launched the Ease of Doing Export Business Rapid Results Project aimed at facilitating the increase of value-added exports for Zimbabwe.

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

The project is a key part of the OPC’s Rapid Results Approach (RRA) aimed at the implementation of policies, programmes and projects by the government and its various agencies.

The export project is listed as a major rapid results initiative.

Speaking at the launch of the Export-driven Rapid Results Project yesterday in Harare, Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha said the trade deficit was averaging $275 million per month, which was unsustainable and there was need to stem it.

The 2017 National Budget says overall export performance in 2016 is estimated to further decline by 6,9% to $3,3 billion from $3,6bn recorded in 2015.

“The deteriorating export performance is a cause for concern and calls for drastic measures by all stakeholders to arrest the situation,” Bimha said in a speech read on his behalf by Industry and Commerce permanent secretary, Abigail Shoniwa.

“Zimbabwe, with its rich natural endowments, has great potential to produce high quality goods and services with greater competitiveness. The unstable international commodity prices have been affecting Zimbabwe’s overall export performance. We should, therefore, endeavour to focus more on value-addition.”

Bimha said focusing on value-addition meant not solely depending on producing and exporting primary commodities, whose demand is externally-oriented, whereby prices are dictated.

Challenges affecting exports include the supply-side, competitiveness, bureaucracies and trade facilitation challenges, among other factors.

As such, part of the export rapid result initiative under the RRA will include utilising market access opportunities in the region and beyond to increase exports.

In line with this export-driven initiative, the Industry and Commerce ministry constituted a steering committee to spearhead the Rapid Results Initiative to achieve the goal of increasing value-added exports for the country.

The steering committee is expected to, among other agreed priorities, immediately roll out the first 100-day rapid results initiative, which will end on February 24, 2017.

OPC deputy chief secretary, Ray Ndhlukula said there was a high demand for the United States dollar, even though it was not the country’s money and as such, value-added exports would be a key enabler in the RRA.

“The RRA is a results-focused process aimed at jump-starting major change efforts in the implementation of various policies, programmes and projects. It is a ‘learning by doing’ process and, therefore, enhances implementation capabilities and capacities across the public sector,” he said.

“The country is experiencing challenges of limited fiscal space caused by among others illegal sanctions and incessant droughts. The government, therefore, has to prioritise projects for implementation.”

ZimTrade chief executive officer, Sithembile Pilime said part of boosting exports was urgently looking at reducing the bureaucracies involved in exporting goods.

For example, she said on area of concern was the transport legalities involved in shipping goods, which were proving costly to exporters.