Home » Business » Market Linkages Vital

The National Economic Consultative Forum held its steering committee this past week with the major focus being the need for the private and public sectors to take greater responsibility to ensure the success of Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Soci-Economic Transformation.As we get closer to the Annual Buy Zimbabwe Conference set for this Thursday in Harare it was pleasing to note from the deliberations during the NECF meeting that there seems to be a shift in mentality that certain issues of national development belong to Government while making money and paying taxes is the responsibility of the private sector.

Even more comforting from the ensuing discussion was a collective recognition that economic troubles that afflict our nation do not discriminate between Government and the private sector.

Our current account deficit, rising import bill, high levels of unemployment and liquidity crunch have broad ramifications that cut across sectoral interests.

In fact Zimbabwe’s Gross Domestic Product is now much lower than that of our neighbours Zambia, something that was unthinkable a few years ago.

The consequence is that our revenue base has been shrinking. With industry struggling to be competitive, public sector employees are beginning to understand what Government really means when it says it has little room to increase their salaries. The positive thing is that Government ministers are becoming more consultative and not shy of pointing out areas where they have done poorly.

The forthcoming Buy Zimbabwe Annual Conference could not have come at a better time.

Unlike a few years ago, Zimbabweans across the board have realised that a prosperous future can only be shaped by commonality in our approach to national issues. We now all agree that building our local industrial capacity and resisting the temptation of importing all and sundry is a luxury we cannot afford.

We must return to basics, accept our condition and make practical decisions to ensure that our procurement practices at both private and public sector levels enable our hard earned money to remain and continue to circulate in our country.

The Buy Zimbabwe team is working hard to ensure that our beloved nation is known for walking its talk.

In this regard three key issues have been identified as focus of discussion at the conference.

The first relates to our ability as a nation to fully unlock our human capital. Unlike many countries on the continent, Zimbabwe boasts of a highly trained workforce with many of our profession now at the helm of some of the leading companies in the world.

Yet with all this resource at our disposal remittances from abroad are still low and restricted to family support and rarely linked to real investment.

We are also still unable to use our top business leaders around the world for the mobilisation of finance and as marketers of the vast opportunities that exist in the country. We have failed to take aantage of the uncertainty within the mining sector in South Africa to present Zimbabwe as destination of choice.

The common reaction to this will be that as Zimbabweans we are more civil people and thus prefer to be civil in our business conduct.

The problem is that the same countries will not hesitate for a moment to use our shortcomings against us. Our ability to fully exploit our human capital and demonstrate our comparative aantages over South Africa for instance will go a long way in making us a more competitive nation.

Locally we must agree on an appropriate link between remuneration and productivity. The second issue under spotlight is retooling and funding our key economic sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing.

By now it should be obvious that with a depressed manufacturing sector our products that we are producing are facing stiff competition in the local market.

This has been worsened by our appetite for imports which is mopping up most of the liquidity in our economy.

Just a few years back steel bolts used to be made in this country but now they are imported from South Africa and China.

The consequences are that when a big mine such as Zimplats embarks on any expansion and claims to have brought in say US$200 million as capital injection, most of that money is spent on imports. As such the need to retool and inject fresh capital cannot be understated. The issues is however coming up with ways of ensuring that we achieve this in the shortest possible time.

Strengthening local procurement laws is also a critical in enabling us to preserving our money.

Finally the Buy Zimbabwe conference will seek to examine in detail and offer practical solutions of building local linkages and exports.

In this regard we have invited an international marketer and Pan Africanist, Thebe Ikefelang as our guest speaker to share his experiences on how some of our continent’s leading brands have been created.

Top local companies that have survived the difficulties will also be on hand to share and exchange testimonies.

Just to illustrate how important Buying Zimbabwe is, a number of local companies, and their workforce will embark on Save A JOB March on the same day calling on government and generality of the population to go local.

An experiential expo will also be held at the Africa Unity Square showcasing the best our country produces.

The time to Buy Zimbabwe is now. Till next week, God Bless.

Email, vandudzai@buyzimbabwe.org.zw, Cell 00263773751878

Source : The Herald