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Treasury boss to engage industry

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CAPTAINS of industry will gather in Harare next week to come up with solutions for challenges affecting the sector.

BY BUSINESS REPORTER

Preliminary projections indicate that the manufacturing sector will fall by 9,6% in 2020, largely because of reduced aggregate demand and a reduction in working hours caused by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, who will be the guest of honour at the industry indaba to be hosted by Global Renaissance Investment, said government was putting in place measures to resuscitate the economy.

“The gradual reopening of the economy under an improving macroeconomic environment arising from fiscal and monetary reforms and enhanced availability of foreign currency from the foreign exchange auction system, should provide impetus for the sector to rebound by 6,5% in 2021,” he said.

The Treasury boss noted that government was promoting value chains, which are a critical industrial development strategy as they advance inclusive growth, economic viability and sustainability for both business and beneficiary groups.

“Government will, therefore, strengthen local agro-processing value chains in agriculture and mining through promoting local production and where possible, incentivising local private sector participation.

“Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has created an opportunity for domesticating value chains, particularly in the manufacturing industry.

“Through appropriate funding models, government will support small, medium and large enterprises that seek to exploit such opportunities.

“With regards to agro-processing, the priority is on supporting various agro-value chains linked to agriculture output such as grains, horticulture, cash crops including tobacco, soya beans and cotton, dairy and livestock local production and processing,” he said.

To facilitate the envisaged local manufacturing, the government is reviewing issuance of import licences and import duties on both imported raw materials and finished products, with a view of encouraging and incentivising local producers of agro inputs, as well as local manufacturers for local processing.

Ncube said it was also crucial for local firms to learn from some subsectors such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals and petroleum, rubber, foodstuffs and ICT, as well as exporters that recorded positive gains this year notwithstanding the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Ngoni Dzirutwe, the GRI chief executive, said the event would also celebrate business survival in the COVID-19 era where most companies faltered.

“This platform will afford business leaders an opportunity to energise and come back prepared in the new year to deal with these challenges and be ready to expand their businesses into the lucrative African market,” he said.

South Africa’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Mphakama Mbete and his Rwandan counterpart James Musoni are expected to present papers on how the local industry can tap into regional markets.

Other notable speakers for the event include Industry minister Sekai Nzenza, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Henry Ruzvidzo, and Gloria Zvaravanhu, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe chief executive officer, among others.

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