The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Reporter
AN increased demand for raw material, machinery and an improving industry capacity utilisation has seen a rise in the demand for foreign currency, a sign that the country’s economy is now on the rebound, President Mnangagwa has said.
He said although the increased demand for foreign currency was giving the Government a headache, they were, however, excited as it was a sign for brighter prospects in the future for the nation. Writing in his weekly instalment in this paper and our sister paper, The Sunday Mail, the President said as more factories start retooling, expanding and modernising, there was now a double need for forex whose positive outcome was greater productivity, rising exports and more jobs.
“Figures from our National Social Security Authority indicate more than a million-strong registered workforce. This is the highest employment level ever in our country, with strong prospects of more jobs coming in the future. At a recent meeting I had with the business community, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) corroborated this by reporting that 800 000 jobs had been created so far. On the ground, leading exporters like Zimasco, Bindura Nickel Corporation, Paramount Garments, Treger Holdings, Tanganda Tea Company, Suzan General Trading, have been reporting quantum gains in exports,” said the President.
In an interview with our Harare Bureau, CZI president Mr Sifelani Jabangwe added that there was increased activity in manufacturing sector, with several new companies coming to the fore, while some existing ones had been revived.
“Things have changed for the better as companies are employing a lot of people. We are compiling a final report on the statistics on the employment figures,” he said.
Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe chief executive Mr John Mufukari added that new jobs had largely been added in small and medium-sized enterprises.
President Mnangagwa said projections showed that the country’s economy would increase by four percent this year and further scale up to above five percent next year. The President revealed that with the increased capacity utilisation they expected more export streams to soon kick in to help break the negative currency shortage cycle prevailing in the country.
“Growth in the gold sector has been phenomenal, rising from the 24 tonnes we managed the whole of last year, to over 30 tonnes recorded so far. The target of 34 tonnes is now within our sights. Tobacco, too, made impressive gains. A record of 252,3 million kilogrammes was delivered to our auction floors, up from 190 million kilogrammes delivered in 2017. By September this year, the value of our exports stood at US$3,01 billion, itself an 18,1 percent increase from the US$2,55 billion realised between January and September last year,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the nation had since fortified its position as a food-secure nation, with over a million tonnes of maize delivered in the last graining season. The Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa has over the past months introduced a number of measures aimed at restoring confidence in the industrial sector and further meant to improve the country’s economy.
Just last week the President put in place a new law that will see illegal currency traders being sentenced to up to 10 years in jail, while ill-gotten wealth will be confiscated by the State in a bid to fight speculative tendencies by illegal foreign currency dealers.