Government has called on local business and local industry to improve the competitiveness of their local products on the export market in line with the national thrust on export-led industrialisation.
Addressing stakeholders at the ZimTrade Annual Exporters Conference, Minister of Industry and Commerce Mike Bimha said the issue of competitiveness is weighing down on export performance which has seen the country battling against a trade deficit of over $2 billion year on year.
According to Bimha, the responsibility to improve competitiveness also lies wit the private sector whom he said should endeavor to revise their business models and invest in new equipment and technology to improve on efficiency and quality of products.
“The consumer of today is in high need of a high quality and lower-priced product. As such this calls for efficiency in production and improvement in competitiveness to be able to survive global competition and ensure export success,” said Bimha.
He added that companies should not seek to survive through hiking prices saying the recent price hikes and panic buying were not a result of any major chances in economic fundamentals but mere speculation through social media.
Bimha urged companies to generate foreign exchange rather expecting government to fund their critical imports.
“In as much as companies require foreign exchange to fund critical imports, there is need for our companies to also generate foreign exchange rather than being mere consumers of foreign exchange.
“There is need to inculcate and entrench an export culture among industrialists and SMEs for them to be able to generate more foreign currency, “said Bimha.
He urged ZimTrade and other business organizations such as Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) and Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) to develop an effective communication strategy for the business sector to be aware of a number of existing export incentives and financing facilities available to support exports.
“There is need for ZimTrade and other business organizations such as CZI and ZNCC to develop an effective communication strategy for the business sector to be aware of a number of existing export incentives and financing facilities available to support exports.
“Opportunities are abound for Zimbabwe to export value added products in the COMESA and SADC regions so we need to be very much aggressive to export into the region.
“The trade deficit that we have experienced over the years which currently stands at over US$1.3 billion ,demands that exports grow at a much higher rate than imports if the country is to sustain the balance of payments, “said Bimha.
He also said that the government in consultation with key stakeholders is in the process of formulating the new Industrial Trade and Export policies and strategies to drive Zimbabwe’s export led industrialization agenda.