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Local Content Policy boon for industry

Grace Kaerasora
Industry is confident that Government’s Local Content Policy, which promotes production and consumption of raw materials and finished goods produced in Zimbabwe, will help spur economic growth.

The policy — an extension of Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 — is expected to be in place by mid-year.

Under the new regulatory framework, Government will offer incentives for industries that use locally procured raw materials.

Consultations between Government and industry representatives on the architecture of the policy is underway. Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries vice-president Mr Sifelani Jabangwe said the thrust was in line with practices in developing and developed countries the world over.

“We actually lobbied for that Local Content Policy because we said SI64 is working, yes, but other countries have introduced the local content policy, especially South Africa . . .

“Nigeria, Zambia, countries like Norway; they use local content to industrialise so we need to strategically do the same and be on similar ground,” said Mr Jabangwe.

He said there was scope for the economy to benefit through import substitution as Zimbabwe imported goods worth US$6 billion every year. SI64 has improved capacity utilisation in local industry from 30 percent to between 60 percent and 100 percent in various sectors.

“This policy is going to create new industries. More jobs meaning more consumption for industry,” Mr Jabangwe said.

Chairman of the Department of Economics at the University of Zimbabwe, Professor Albert Makochekanwa, said promoting local industries would have a multiplier effect on the economy, where both downstream and upstream industries would benefit.

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce CEO Mr Chris Mugaga added: “As ZNCC we just do not want to look at it as just a local content policy but a manufacturing local content policy. We want to look at it from the manufacturing side because we do not want a situation where products are local while inputs are foreign.”

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