INDUSTRY and Commerce minister Mike Bimha has urged local manufacturers to improve the quality of their products for them to compete on the export market.
BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
Speaking at the ongoing, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) annual general meeting (AGM) and investment forum in Victoria Falls, Bimha said a recent import management evaluation showed that most local companies which benefited from the ban of selected imports, did not have Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) certification.
Bimha said SAZ certification was one way of assuring the export market that the products were of a high quality.
“I would like to highlight that there is need for quality products from our companies,” he said.
“The monitoring and evaluation team set up a committee to monitor the impact of SI 64 (Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016) and they assessed the quality of goods.
“They sought to establish whether the products being produced are certified and whether the manufacturers have implemented appropriate management systems.
“They observed that most companies benefiting through SI 64 do not have the Standards Association of Zimbabwe certification and, thus, there is need for these companies to have products and management systems that are certified and l would like to appeal to CZI to look into that.”
Bimha said SAZ-certified companies would also give confidence to locals to buy their goods.
“The implementation of internationally recognised certification systems by organisations benefiting from the statutory instrument related to trade is necessary to assure consumers that they will be supplied with good quality products in addition to enhancing local trade opportunities, while unlocking extremal regional, international and continental trade to bring long term sustainability to the operation of the companies that are receiving temporary protection from the SI 64 of 2016,” he said.
CZI president, Sifelani Jabangwe told the same gathering that the government should settle its foreign debts, give incentives to investors and speed up the introduction of special economic zones to breathe life into Zimbabwe’s ailing economy.
“We would like to encourage the government to settle its arrears with the multilateral institutions, so as to pave way for foreign direct investment and enable the banking sector to attract lines of credit for onward transmission to productive sectors,” he said.
“There is a need to provide incentives to new producers of manufactured goods.
“Activity by new players will not only substitute a lot of the products currently being imported, but drive export growth of value added manufactured products, which generate more value for the economy, thereby, creating new job opportunities and boosting taxes for government.”
Jabangwe said export processing zones were a must if Zimbabwe’s economy was to recover from several years of decline.
“There is need for setting up of special economic zones and, in particular, we believe the single factory model should not be underplayed in according SEZs status,” he said.
“This model entails identifying and designating industries operating at very low capacity or at idle or abandoned infrastructure throughout the country as special economic zones.”
The AGM and exhibition, which ends today, is being attended by delegates from countries such as India, Turkey and Ethiopia.