President Mnangagwa is on record saying Zimbabwe could become an economic giant over a short period of time if all Zimbabweans regardless of creed and political affiliation, work towards economic transformation.
In his words, collaboration between the Government and business community can revive the economy and provide quick revival.
His vision is that the country should become a middle-income economy by 2030 and indeed, the sky is the limit.
While according to the World Bank, a middle-income economy is one with a gross national income ranging between $1 005 and $12 235 per capita, President Mnangagwa has been very specific about his target, saying Zimbabwe should have a per capita income of $3 500 or more by 2030.
The citizens are yearning for that and have faith in his leadership to take the country to the Promised Land. It’s a target that can be achieved, but obviously Government cannot do it alone. Everyone needs to put shoulders to the wheel with industry taking a leading role.
The time for asking what Government can do for industry should be over, as Government has already talked of that and implemented some of the reforms with far reaching consequences that industry has been calling for.
Industry has called for protection of their markets and Government responded through statutory instruments such as SI64. There were calls for a reversal of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment laws and Government obliged by repealing the bigger part of the laws with new policies still earmarked for the remaining areas of diamond and platinum minerals.
We have seen the Rapid Results Initiatives which have gone a long way in improving the ease as well as the cost of doing business.
Since coming to power, President Mnangagwa has led an aggressive realignment of the country’s economy through introducing far-reaching reforms and re-engagement with the international community.
This, is in line with the saying Governments do not make money, but create conducive environment for businesses to create wealth and in turn, pay more taxes, royalties among other obligations to oil national economic cogs.
Through his open for business campaign, his administration has opened investment opportunities to international and local investors who were previously reluctant to bring their money to Zimbabwe.
Of course, the needs and requirements for industry to strive cannot all be met overnight. Some will take time, but Government, led by President Mnangagwa, has shown its willingness and commitment not only to engage, but to also implement.
The same is also expected of industry and indeed it should play ball. What can industry do for the country to help it achieve its desired status as a middle-income economy by 2030 in line with President Mnangagwa’s vision.
It is worth noting that industry not only provide employment; they also play a major role in driving various activities that can stimulate economic growth.
This understanding is the basis of our call for industry to unlock more potential to drive various economic activities. One of industry’s role is to create value chain linkages in agriculture, mining and the commercial sectors of the economy to help create employment and increase wages.
There are many lucrative areas in which the companies can open shop and start producing. Our huge import bill is clear testimony of such opportunities. Besides value adding and beneficiating our products before exporting them, a clear import substitution strategy is one area that industry can play in a much bigger way to help ease our cash shortages.
With rapid urbanisation pushing up demand for housing, especially affordable housing and as populations grow, there is a need for industry to come up with low cost initiatives to address this issue. A middle income economy should go hand-in-hand with housing for all schemes.
We have heard that as hardworking as our human capital is, to a certain extent we lack in terms of skill, even entrepreneurial skills. This is another area industry should come through in partnership with our tertiary institutions to help upgrade and grow our skills base.
It is good to note that some business minded people and industrialists have already realised that they have a role to play in support of Government’s vision 2030.
As we grow the economy, we expect trade deficit to come down, indicating our industries will be export-oriented.
It’s sad that the country’s trade deficit for the six months to July 2018 went up 36 percent to $1,5 billion from the comparative prior year as imports continue to grow at a faster rate than exports, according to Zimstats.
These are areas that need quick solutions as we help build President Mnangagwa’s vision 2030.