BY SILISIWE MABALEKA
THE Industry and Commerce ministry has urged Bulawayo industries to produce quality products for export.
At a meeting with business stakeholders in Bulawayo last week, ministry secretary, Mavis Sibanda challenged the leather products value chain to ensure there is value addition, and to come up with competitive products for export.
“For us to get quality leather, we ought to support cattle farmers and ensure that they produce the best leather for shoes, jackets and bags. Recently we got funding from the African Development Bank for the leather value chain,” she said.
“Two years ago we saw disruption of shipment as preference was given to COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPEs) as the cases were surging. Let’s ensure that we have our own raw materials as the Ukrainia-Russia war is affecting the importation of raw materials into the country.”
Sibanda said there was a need for the sector to retool, address the issue of costs of production, and to ensure that cotton is manufactured locally instead of the country importing 80% of its raw cotton.
Business programme co-ordinator for Bulawayo Chamber of Small to Medium Enterprises, Nketha Mangoye Dlamini said SMEs had to move in the right direction to ensure that the objectives of the National Development Strategy One (NDS1) are met.
“SMEs need to be capacitated in order to contribute to the development of the country,” he said.
Dlamini said people in Bulawayo had skills to produce competitive products, but their challenge was that they did not know how to export their products.
A business stakeholder, Harry Kwaendeipi said: “We have to engage other countries so that we get trade information and better machinery to ensure mass production in industries.”
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