By Alois Vinga
BUY Zimbabwe (BZ) chief executive, Munyaradzi Hwengwere has urged government and other key stakeholders to conduct detailed research which will reveal the amount of money going towards purchasing locally manufactured products.
Speaking at a function held to discuss issues affecting the uptake of locally manufactured products recently, Hwengwere underscored the need to depart from basing on generalised details to the more specific details.
“We need to work on the exact numbers and see where we are by establishing how much exactly is spent locally out of the total budget spent by government and other local authorities.
“Out of the 32 local authorities and 50 Rural District Councils in the country, how much exactly is being devoted towards purchasing locally manufactured products,” he said.
The BZ boss said that other countries in the region like South Africa know the specific percentages that are injected into their local enterprises and can reveal the downstream advantages seen in the form of job creation derived from such expenditure.
BZ is working hand in hand with government to reduce the wide gap between low exports and high imports which continue to strip the country of foreign currency.
This comes amid revelations that Zimbabwe is exporting goods estimated at around US$1 billion while importing goods worth US$3.2 billion, resulting in a negative trade balance of US$1.3 billion.
In 2018 alone, fertiliser imports gobbled US$295, cereals took US$270 million, plastics and plastic articles consumed US$263 million. While vegetables and oils gobbled US$153 million.
Recently, government unveiled plans to implement the local content strategy which will be initiated through Preferential Local Procurement Initiatives and development of funding models dedicated for the development of local suppliers to be financed through government as well as private capital.
Under the strategy, business opportunities will also be created for local firms through, among others, designing tender procedures biased towards local suppliers as well as special consideration for businesses owned by women, youth and people with disabilities.
Industrial sub-sectors that are set to benefit among others Motor vehicle assembling and component manufacturing, textiles and clothing, metals and electrical steel products and components for construction.