Harare – Minister of Industry and Commerce Mangaliso Ndlovu has said manufacturing industry growth projection has been revised down from the initial 2.5% growth in 2019 issued in the 2019 budget to a 1% growth projection due to challenges emanating from foreign currency shortages, cyclone idai aftermath, el-nino induced drought and energy challenges among others.
Over the recent years through which the country is witnessing a major economic slowdown, the manufacturing industry has been failing to produce to optimum levels contributing to a huge trade deficit with the country currently importing a huge chunk of products it has potential to produce.
A historical perspective shows that the manufacturing sector exhibited positive growth since the adoption of the multi-currency system in 2009, recording a growth rate of 10.2% in 2009 before dipping to around 2.5% in 2010 and rising to a high of 13.8% in 2013.
In 2014 it hit a low of -5% before recovering back to positive territory. The sector’s growth has since failed to gather momentum with a rate of 1.3% being attained in 2018.
In his presentation titled “Zimbabwe National Industrial Development Policy,” Minister Ndlovu said the industrial sector has the potential to reclaim its position as the leading sector in driving economic growth and development.
“This is particularly so given the strong linkages it has with other key sectors of the economy namely agriculture, mining and services,” he said.
Minister Ndlovu said government through the Zimbabwe National Industrial Development Policy (2019-2023), is pursuing strategies and interventions to improve manufacturing sector performance in terms of contribution to GDP, employment creation and foreign exchange earnings by the sector.
“A National Trade Policy and National Export Strategy anchored on this industrialisation policy will spell out specific measures and interventions that will be pursued over the next five years to facilitate trade and grow exports,” Minister Ndlovu said.
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Raynold Mhotseka is a Journalism and Media Studies student at the University of Zimbabwe. He serves as a news writer at financial research firm, Equity Axis where he is currently on attachment.