HARARE – Newly appointed Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has urged Zimbabweans to be innovative in order to further increase industrial capacity utilisation and boost production.
Chinamasa told a taxpayer appreciation commemorations day yesterday that the country had lost a lot of ground in industrialising and had been reduced to a warehouse of other countries’ manufactured products.
“I am disappointed that we are now a warehouse of almost of everything from sweet potatoes to okra, to tomatoes, potatoes even where we have local capacity to produce.
“We cannot operate on the basis of being a warehouse for other countries. As we attempt to increase our capacity to produce and compete we also must clampdown on cheap imports into our country,” the Finance minister said.
This comes as most of Zimbabwe’s manufacturing companies are suffering from low capacity utilisation currently pegged at 44,2 percent according to Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), coupled with an acute liquidity crisis, obsolete machinery, high operating costs and limited lines of affordable credit among other challenges.
Chinamasa said he hoped industrialists would revise some of the methods used to look into the value chains of products they produce.
“Opportunities are at every stage of the value chain and that is where business is centred on. We will make efforts to ensure that industry and the manufacturing sector are retooled.
“At the moment I get the impression that they are dead and no amount of resuscitation will do. They have to re-establish themselves in order to compete with more efficient production systems from elsewhere,” he said.
The minister added government efforts were currently geared towards prioritising all sectors of the economy and challenged stakeholders to come up with concrete plans to ensure that when government tries to unlock value through policy implementation they will be able to quickly turnaround.
“Apart from this, government’s obligation is to create a conducive environment for business to thrive. The resultant benefits to the state are increased revenues and improvement of people’s well-being,” said Chinamasa.
The treasury chief said his ministry would soon unveil policy measures that support broadening the fiscal base and revitalising all sectors to become engines of economic growth.
He applauded compliant taxpayers, adding that there was need to cultivate a culture of complying with revenue laws and to exhort each other to pay taxes on time and in full.
“Domestic resource mobilisation is playing an instrumental role in improving standards of the people of Africa. This is so because domestic revenue is increasingly being used for infrastructural development, poverty reduction initiatives, provision of social services, employment creation and self-sustenance in developing countries,” said Chinamasa.