Import substitution thrust bears fruit



Zimbabwe’s import substitution push is yielding positive results with local industry now manufacturing 14 basic commodities previously imported now being produced locally, the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Sekai Nzenza has said.

Speaking at the ED Mnangagwa  Business Summit last week, Nzenza said:

“Manufacturing sector took advantage of the closure of the borders during the Covid-19 pandemic and started looking inwards where the manufacturers became more innovative.

“This has resulted in the industry manufacturing 14 basic commodities found on the shelves,” Nzenza said.

Business Times can report that capacity utilisation in the manufacturing has increased to more than 60% from 40% reported in 2018.

“We celebrate the progress made to date in the manufacturing sector with capacity utilisation shooting up significantly. You cannot miss local products on the shelfs. Despite Cyclone Idai, and Covid-19, our import substitution programme is working,” Nzenza said.

She said the government wants dialogues with the private sector to continue so that the two can come up with a win-win situation for both players, a situation which will ultimately benefit the customers.

Nzenza said businesses can approach the government for intervention and ensure that goods are affordable and authorities can do so if they notice a gap in the market.

In the outlook, Nzenza called on the private sector to collaborate with the government to navigate local and global challenges as well as the geopolitical challenges to achieve the upper middle-income economy by 2030.

Speaking at the same event, Tafadzwa Musarara, the Grain Millers Association chairperson said: “There has been a substantial reduction of imported finished goods to the retailers who indicated that more than 95% of the goods in the shelves are locally produced.”

He said they have seen a huge paradigm shift in the “agro-processing subsector from raw produce to finished products and this shows the movement up the value chain”.

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