The Sunday News
Rutendo Nyeve, Sunday News Reporter
MATABELELAND South Province has massive potential to facilitate the country’s industrialisation agenda and overall economic growth if selected agro and mining value chains are fully exploited, an official has said.
The Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Raj Modi, commented on the business opportunities in Matabeleland South during a tour of a number of businesses in the province last week. He said there were various business ventures in Gwanda and the rest of the province which exhibited potential in playing a role towards the country’s industrialisation.
The tour covered businesses from a variety of sectors that include construction, manufacturing, wholesaling and retail as well as agriculture among other sectors. The tour was followed by the inaugural edition of the Matabeleland South Business Summit and Awards Ceremony.
“Matabeleland South Province is endowed with vast resources and can play a pivotal role in the development of agro-based value chains and in particular the beef, milk and leather value chains. The province has immense potential to be a major supplier of raw hides and skins, semi- processed leather, finished leather, footwear and leather products as the economy is livestock farming.
“The fruit and fruit juice value chain also has a huge potential in citrus plantations in the Beitbridge area of the province. Other value chains you may develop include grain, flour, stockfeed and mineral-based value chains. There are also huge opportunities in the limestone, quarry, cement and construction sectors. It is incumbent upon you, the business people to modernise and industrialise based on the abundant local resources available,” he said.
Deputy Minister Modi said the implementation of these projects was going to create base capital employment opportunities for young people who for a long time have been trickling to South Africa for the so-called greener pastures.
He said in line with the national vision of creating an upper middle-income economy by 2030, the Government was pursuing value addition and beneficiation with the ultimate goal of transforming the economy through enhanced productivity in an environment that was private sector driven.
“Government will continue to develop policies that facilitate private sector growth and make the environment conducive for doing business in line with the ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’ mantra. Government has made significant strides in improving the business environment by implementing the ease and cost of doing business reforms. These reforms and other policy interventions are spurring the country towards the US$8 billion manufacturing and commercial sector industry to be achieved by the end of 2023,” he said.
Nationally, he added, the commerce sector had experienced robust growth over the last few years and indications were that it would continue to grow. Deputy Minister Modi said in view of the President’s instructive pronouncement of leaving no-one and no place behind, he hoped Matebeleland South Province would not be left behind in this business revival crusade.
He said the value chain approach to industrialisation that was espoused in the Zimbabwe National Industrial Development Policy (2019-2023) was producing positive results.
“Since 2017, capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector has increased to over 60 percent. In addition, 80 percent of the products in supermarket shelves are now locally produced. “Government is however concerned by acts of indiscipline being perpetrated by some business players and calls on members of the business community to maintain discipline and protect the gains that have so far been achieved,” he said.
The extraordinary summit ran under the theme “Business Growth and Expansion” and was punctuated by reflections of the tremendous strides that local businesses have shown under the Second Republic.
The summit also came at an opportune time given that the year 2023 marks the mid-term in the implementation of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), which is the Government’s economic blue-print. — @nyeve14