INDUSTRY captains have pledged to continue working closely with the Government towards enhancing the ease of doing business and transforming the country into an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
This follows the official launch in Harare yesterday of the 2021 Manufacturing Sector Survey Report, which has revealed that the local industry managed to invest in new technologies last year, expanded capacity utilisation and some companies installed new plants which resulted in creation of more jobs.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president, Mr Kurai Matsheza, in a speech read on his behalf by his deputy,Victoria Jakazi said the performance in 2021 managed to sustain growth momentum on the back of policy makers ability to maintain stability that gave industry an environment in which to grow.
“There is need to ensure that the positive momentum gained in 2021 is maintained. Industry will continue to work with the Government to improve the doing business environment towards attainment of vision 2030,” said Mr Matsheza.
“It is important to ensure that the operating environment is stable, especially bringing finality to the currency and inflation challenges.”
Despite the challenges faced in 2021, which were compounded by the disruptive Covid-19 impact, the CZI president said local industry was resilient as it sustained the growth momentum from 47 percent capacity utilisation witnessed in 2020 to 56,52 percent by the end of last year.
“Our hope is that the risks that now face us due to the currency environment and the measures that have been announced will be quickly resolved so that we don’t lose this momentum for growth,” said Mr Matsheza.
He stressed the need to get the price of foreign currency right as a fundamental matter of Zimbabwe’s economic development interest.
Correcting the exchange rate pricing, thus, is what will stabilise the economy and provide some room to continue on the growth trajectory that was experienced in 2021, said Mr Matsheza.
“This would also create room for the authorities to address the structural issues for long term sustained growth and stability,” he said.
“We are convinced that convergence of the rates brings stability as this was achieved at the beginning of the auction when a large part of the economy was indifferent to holding ZWL.”
Mr Matsheza said at the beginning of the auction system, the parallel market premium was down to 20 percent, inflation was on a downward slope and investments in new projects were witnessed.
“An efficient price discovery must be allowed and an efficient market established as without doing this, the authorities will be chasing symptoms, which continue to mutate as long as the arbitrage windows remain open,” he said.
Meanwhile, according to the industry survey report, 42,7 percent of the manufacturing sector is accessing the foreign exchange from the auction market.
The report said that companies are obtaining 39,5 percent of their foreign currency requirement from the auction market.