The government has expressed concern over the continued importation of finished products which can be produced locally, with the business community being urged to ensure that their products become competitive on the market.

This follows a recent exposé that debunked the long-held myth that local wheat cannot produce quality bread unless blended with imported wheat.

Addressing delegates during a Midlands Province breakfast meeting in Gweru, the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Cde Mangaliso Ndlovu said Zimbabweans need to reduce their appetite for imported goods for the country to realise an economic turnaround.

“I want to implore you also to consider that foreign currency inflows received by Zimbabwe exceed those received by many of our peers on the continent such as Rwanda. Our manufacturing sector needs to complement our foreign currency generation capacity through greater utilisation of local raw materials and a more aggressive approach towards exports. My appeal is that we join hands in transforming our domestic industry into a resilient and sustainable sector contributing more than 20% to the annual GDP. On our part, the Ministry will continue to promulgate policies that speak to this aspiration,” he said.

CZI Chamber Regional President, Mr Mike Dzinoreva said industry commends the government for the recent Monetary Policy Statement for its ability to address some of the challenges that have been affecting the sector.

He however appealed for the reactivation of Statutory Instrument 122 for the consolidation of some of the gains that had been made in the past.

“For these interventions to work, we need to build a culture of honesty and transparency amongst stakeholders. The issue of rebates on fuel has not been clear and yet fuel is at the centre of manufacturing processes. My next item is that we believe that the suspension of SI 122 needs to be reconsidered as it had made a significant contribution towards our capacity utilisation as a country,” he said.

The recent Monetary Policy Statement by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is viewed as a step in the right direction as it has renewed confidence in doing business in the country by liberalising the trading of the US dollar on the market, thereby removing the 1:1 distortion that had made the conducting of business difficult.