Almot Maqolo

HARARE – Zimbabwe government says it will increase manufacturing’s contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 25% -previously its peak, as it is one of the key economic sectors to spearhead the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP).

Currently, the manufacturing sector currently contributes 11% to GDP. Industry and Commerce minister, Mangaliso Ndhlovu told delegates at the AMH Conversations Conference held in the capital, that the southern African nation has put in place several measures in support of the industry.“Constant engagement with the private sector shows government commitment to growth and development of industry.

The sector should therefore ride on throughput from Command Agriculture given that Zimbabwe industry is agro-based getting 60% of its inputs from agriculture,” he said, adding that there is need for strong linkages with the mining, tourism, transport, ICT and other sectors.He said the ministry will promote industrial value addition, come up with an industrial policy framework, strengthen value chains and enable re-equipping of industry as well as development of Special Economic Zones.

The manufacturing industry is poised to play a pivotal role in achieving the country’s national vision of becoming an upper middle income economy by 2030.Latest available GDP/Capita is US$1 511 for the year 2017 which makes the southern African nation a lower middle income economy according to UN criteria.

However, liberalisation of exchange rate will render exports more competitive while reducing demand for imports: expect incremental effect on GDP. This year, the value of goods produced in USD terms deflated by exchange rate thus having a contractionary effect on GDP, when expressed in US Dollar.

The functional currency – the RTGS Dollar depreciated by 24.44% from 25 February to 08 April 2019.In the past few years, Zimbabwe has been lobbying for prioritisation of the Industrialisation Pillar at the SADC regional level.

With the global economy rapidly advancing towards robotics, artificial intelligence, digital marketing, e-commerce and crypto currency, among other developments, the minister said it is now vital that the country domesticates these concepts as this will enable industry to be more competitive and promote import substitution.Industry minister, also noted that the government remains seized with the issue of prices to ensure consumer protection and affordable goods and services.

Prices for the 14 monitored basic commodities were generally on an upward trend with major increases recorded on  Cooking Oil which recorded an increase of 195% whilst the lowest increase was on beef which increased by 11.4 % over the period (October 2018 – April 2019).