Thursday, April 25, 2013

Zimbabwe Vice President Mujuru Addresses International Trade Fair in Bulawayo

Value addition key: VP

Thursday, 25 April 2013 00:00
Rumbidzayi Zinyuke in BULAWAYO
Zimbabwe Herald

VICE president Joice Mujuru says Zimbabwe will only start experiencing noticeable growth if stakeholders stop exporting raw materials and embark on value addition of minerals and agricultural produce.

The Vice President was delivering the keynote address on “Zimbabwe on a new tidal wave of socio-economic transformation and sustainable development in the modern era” as she opened the ZITF International Business Conference in Bulawayo yesterday.

“I urge and encourage co-ordinated efforts by developmental non-governmental organisations, the private sector and other philanthropists in providing finance and delivering of a development solution to the greater majority of the people,” she said.

Vice President Mujuru added that there was need for Government and industry captains to work together towards the resuscitation of downstream industries as well as investment in production that will help achieve the said growth.

ZITF had a mammoth task of growing the country’s trade with the rest of the world and be able to address some administration issues which are supposed to be simple, but have been causing serious challenges that inhibit trade and investment, she observed.

Of note, she mentioned the issue of transit documentation, which she said should be ironed out.

“We need to promote more policy measures that promote growth, policies that seek to indigenise, empower, develop and create employment.

“We cannot have indigenisation without empowerment and without both, we cannot have growth,” she noted.

Vice President Mujuru said the recent announcement by the Brics countries that they intend to create a development bank to fund US$4,5 trillion worth of infrastructure projects was welcome in Zimbabwe.

“We welcome this because it provides new sources of capital. Investors in infrastructure should be found ready to participate and benefit in a meaningful manner that will see the growth of this nation,” she added.

She also called on the banking and financial sectors to offer long-term financing, as the country’s development could not be based on short-term loans that were being re-channelled to finance luxurious lifestyles instead of production.

“We need to invest in production first and then consume later so that we can retool our manufacturing sector, revamp irrigation systems and modernise infrastructure such as roads,” she added.

Industry and Commerce Minister Professor Welshman Ncube said the continued exportation of commodities in raw form with little or no value addition was impacting negatively on the socio-economic development of the country, as revenue is lost to countries that have developed and embraced value addition as a priority in their manufacturing.

“We, therefore, as developing nations need to beneficiate our raw materials products and develop value chains hence, creating employment, enhancing trade and boosting our export revenue given that value added goods fetch higher prices on the international market,” he said.

He said this had also contributed to the unsustainable trade deficit of US$3,6 billion recorded last year.

Minister Ncube noted that the cotton and textiles sector had potential for value addition with only 41 percent of the cotton seed produced being processed locally while the textile industry was exporting 70 percent of lint produced because they had no capacity to process it all.

“The leather sector presents another area where investment opportunities lie along the value chains.

“Zimbabwe could benefit from expertise to locally manufacture a variety of products from exotic skins as compared to exporting them raw,” he added

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