By Yolanda Moyo
Government has identified the strengthening of existing industrial value chains as a key strategy to reclaiming Zimbabwe’s place as a strong manufacturing base in the SADC region.
In this regard, officials from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce were in Bulawayo this Thursday for engagements with stakeholders in the industry value chain as the country seeks to boost production of quality products that can compete on the region market.
Speaking on the sidelines of the engagements, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Dr Mavis Sibanda said there is need to strengthen value chains for industry to remain competitive and gain access to new markets.
“We are encouraging our industry to strengthen value chains so that we have raw materials that are of good standard so that we are no longer disrupted in the future. We are working together to ensure that we have raw materials that are of quality products so that we are certain of a perfect quality. We are saying we should we have quality so that products can compete. With the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, we have to make sure that our industry becomes more competitive,” she said.
Dr Sibanda also highlighted that her ministry signed an agreement with service providers for the consignment based conformity assessment programme to ensure that sub-standard goods do not penetrate the local market.
Stakeholders welcomed the ministry’s call to improve the quality of products saying it will reduce the import bill.
“We welcome this call by the ministry as this reduces imports in the market. It is high time that as metal foundries scale up our production and take quality seriously and set standards,” noted Clement Shoko, who is in the leather sector.
Another businessman in metal foundries, Mr Dosman Mangisi said: “As the leather sector, we are grateful for this engagement and it is high time we strengthened value chains as a sector and make sure that we gain new markets within Zimbabwe first and substitute imports of shoes.”
The operationalisation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area calls for Zimbabwe to strive for quality products if it is to gain a significant share on the continental market.