38% manufacturing firms expanded operations in 2021 – Report

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By Alois Vinga

ABOUT 38% of Zimbabwe’s manufacturing companies managed to expand their operations in 2021, a recent survey shows.

The Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) survey report, titled NDS1 Abridged Civil Society Monitoring Mechanism indicates that policies being employed by the government have triggered a degree of the manufacturing sector growth.

“The economy managed to scale industrial capacity utilisation, recording 58% in 2021 thereby increasing the value of manufactured goods to the GDP owing to the ease in Covid19 restrictions, productive efficiency, improved access to forex and improved agricultural output in the past season,” the report shows.

“Notable is that 38% of manufacturing firms expanded operations , upgraded their technology and had new investments in the second quarter thereby expanding their installed capacities,” said the report.

The findings come against a background where since 2019 the government has been implementing a raft of measures to position the economy for a manufacturing rebound which among them includes the establishment of the RBZ foreign exchange auction system.

The survey established that non-metal sector construction and cement manufacturing recorded the highest capacity utilisation as Lafarge launched a US$2,8 million Dry Morta project designed to scale production from 7 000 tons to 100 000 tons per year.

“The least capacity utilisation was however recorded in the clothing and footwear sector given the influx of cheap footwear and smuggled second hand clothing through the country’s porous borders. Key achievements in agro-processing include the commissioning of the fruit and vegetable processing plant in Mutoko and the Marula Processing and Value Addition Plant in Rutenga,” the report said.

Going forward, the survey called on authorities to adopt a private sector led industrialisation strategy while keeping a close eye on non- performing sectors if holistic economic growth is to be achieved.

“Essentially budget implementation should support value addition and beneficiation programmes if NDS1 targets are to be met. The key lesson is that the private sector must take lead in the industrialisation process and drive the value addition and beneficiation dream riding on proper policing,” the report says.