Home » Business » It’s Not All Doom, Gloom – Mabuwa

Chiratidzo Mabuwa blamed the decline in industrial capacity utilisation, projected to tumble by a further six percent to 30 percent in December, on cheap imports.

A DEPUTY minister in President Robert Mugabe’s government has said Zimbabwe’s economic situation was not “all gloom and doom”, arguing there were pockets of industry that were recovering.

Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister, Chiratidzo Mabuwa, said while indeed the country’s economy was currently going through challenges, positive developments were taking place that could usher in a new era for the economy.

“I want to point out that it’s not all doom and gloom as there are pockets of recovery, with some industries doing relatively well and continuing to expand and create employment,” said Mabuwa, who toured a number of Bulawayo-based companies ahead of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.

She had noted that companies such as Ceratex (meat processing), Ref-Air (refrigeration) and Maxwell Clothing were performing well.

“On the same note, the dairy sector has seen the expansion of Dendairy in Kwekwe in the last 12 months. Companies such as National Blankets, Wetblue Industries, Cairns, Blue Ribbon Foods, Star Africa, Lobels Biscuits and others that are under judicial management are making steady progress to come back, ramping up their production through careful nurturing,” she said.

Mabuwa blamed the decline in industrial capacity utilisation, projected to tumble by a further six percent to 30 percent in December, on cheap imports.

“The major causes of un-competitiveness of local companies are the high costs of production emanating from high mark-ups to sustain high overheads epitomised by high utility tariffs, finance charges as well as wages and salaries which are higher than those obtaining in the neighbouring countries and beyond,” said Mabuwa.

She said the continued appreciation of the United States dollar against the currencies of country’s major trading partners had made imports cheaper in the process making local goods uncompetitive.

“One of the strategies which have been used by government to address this cost of doing business has been the rebranding of the National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) to the National Competitiveness Commission (NCC).”

“The rebranding programme, which is being spearheaded by my ministry, will be accelerated in order to quickly address the challenges. Government is currently seized with finalising the legal framework to smoothen the migration from NIPC to NCC,” she said.

Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector is operating at an average of 36 percent capacity utilisation in an environment in which companies continue to close down, downsize and retrench, with the worst affected areas being food, pharmaceuticals, leather, construction and textiles.

Source : Financial Gazette

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