Prosper Ndlovu Bulawayo’s office
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday expressed his pride at the positive progress made by the country’s industries, taking advantage of the government’s favorable political reforms.
These have improved domestic production at a time when the global economy is hit by the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
The country’s manufacturing sector capacity utilization is expected to reach around 61 percent by the end of this year, up from 54 percent in the second quarter, according to the Zimbabwe Confederation of Industries (CZI).
This is a milestone achievement given that industry capacity closed 2020 at 47%, after increasing 36% in 2019.
The increase in productivity has been attributed to increased demand, macroeconomic stability, fiscal incentives, and improved access to foreign exchange through formal channels, among other improvement measures. politics.
Local businesses have responded positively by adopting the local content strategy, aimed at creating adequate national value chains and replacing imports, said President Mnangagwa who was in Bulawayo to officially open the 61st edition of the International Trade Fair of the Zimbabwe (ZITF).
While the main trade show was canceled last year due to Covid-19, the president said he was impressed with the diversity and high quality of goods and services on display at this year’s ZITF, especially considering given that local products now dominate the two storage spaces. in points of sale, as well as in exhibition spaces.
“The private sector ensured that they were performing extremely well so that we would never stop them from hosting this exhibition again.
The quality of the products and the fittings, you wonder if we are in Zimbabwe under sanctions, ”President Mnangagwa said immediately after finishing his tour of the stands around 12 noon.
“It’s really amazing that we are achieving what we have achieved under the conditions in which we find ourselves. I am proud of our employees in the private sector. You deserve praise.
The revival of the private sector reinforces the ideals of the National Development Strategy (NDS1: 2021-2025), a key element in the achievement of Vision 2030.
Improved production has also positioned Zimbabwe on the path to achieving the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for improved livelihoods.
Later in his official opening speech, President Mnangagwa told delegates, including Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Cabinet ministers, diplomats and industry leaders, that Zimbabwe was making tremendous progress in the transformation of its economy.
With a projected gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 7.8% this year, down from 7.4% initially, the president said Zimbabwe has become “one of the fastest growing economies” in the world. the region as well as one of the fastest on the World Bank’s Doing Business index.
“These milestones for success demonstrate the convergence of positive national sentiments and unity of purpose among the private sector, government and all of our great nation,” he said.
“It also serves as a testament to the confidence that stakeholders have in Zimbabwe’s economy. The demonstration of solidarity and cooperation must be consolidated. . . The Second Republic will continue to guarantee a predictable political environment where capital feels secure. “
President Mnangagwa said the ongoing economic reform program not only made Zimbabwe a favorable investment destination, but had succeeded in containing inflation and achieving a budget surplus, as opposed to deficits like this. has been the case in recent years.
He said the country’s foreign revenue, which has reached more than US $ 5 billion so far this year, was evidence of an economy on a growth path despite the negative impact of the pandemic.
Going forward, the president said that efforts to transform the economy from an exporter of mainly primary products to higher nodes of high value-added industrial production would be intensified.
He called on government agencies and departments to play their role and support the country’s industrial revolution. In doing so, Zimbabwe is aware of the imperative of digitization, which requires local industries to adopt smarter, sustainable and digital manufacturing and supply chain models.
To this end, President Mnangagwa challenged the private sector to create synergies and collaborations with start-ups in higher education institutions across the country.
He also implored small and medium-sized enterprises to take advantage of the simplified tax system to strengthen discipline and good corporate citizenship within the sector.
In line with the government’s commitment and re-engagement, the president said it was essential to attract more investment and increase exports by entering global markets as a cornerstone of opening up the country. economy.
He congratulated the ZITF company for presenting the first Diplomats Forum to complement the government policy on economic diplomacy and export growth.
Likewise, the President highlighted the complex link between trade and integration and encouraged local businesses to adopt the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in order to expand their export markets.
“For its part, my government is building a robust and digital economic infrastructure that enables citizens to access opportunities in this single market,” he said.
This year’s ZITF exhibition is held under the theme: “Introducing the New Normal for Business and Industry: Realities and Opportunities” and reflects the country’s growing interest in re-energizing business and industry in order to achieve more inclusive and inclusive growth.
In this regard, President Mnangagwa said that the advent of Covid-19 has necessitated the need to reconfigure economies through innovation and building resilience.
He reiterated the government’s emphasis on modernizing critical public infrastructure such as roads, airports, irrigation and public health facilities as catalysts for robust growth and attracting investment across the country. country. This dynamic is being continued within the framework of the deconcentration and decentralization program, which will also benefit companies in various provinces and districts, by relying on various comparative advantages and endowments.
President Mnangagwa also stressed the importance of a stable power and energy sector and assured the country that the implementation of new ongoing projects will yield positive results as efforts are underway to tap the vast potential of renewable energy.