Buy local: Industry on drive to sensitise Zimbabweans

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By Alois Vinga

GOVERNMENT in partnership with lobby group, Buy Zimbabwe (BZ), are set to roll out an awareness program which is aimed at educating Zimbabweans on the importance of purchasing locally manufactured products and the associated benefits which in the long term result in job creation.

In a statement, BZ said that the Make Local Buy Local Campaign programme will be jointly implemented under government’s 100 Day Rapid Results Initiative.

“The campaign will start Friday 10 May 2019 running under the theme; ‘Reviving the Local Industry through stakeholder Engagement, Awareness and Participation’.

“As part of the Local Content Strategy, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce has incorporated the Local Production and Consumption Awareness Programme under the Government’s 100 Days Rapid Results Initiative,” said the statement.

The programme is targeting various stakeholders such as government institutions, industry and consumers, the general public, employees, students, wherein different messages and communication strategies will be used for different stakeholders.

According to the statement, one of the communication strategies being pursued is conducting road shows countrywide in conjunction with the ZBC to sensitise the general public and consumers on the importance of buying local products.

“In this regard, local companies are being requested to provide promotional materials to be used during the road shows in the form of T-shirts, caps, fliers and products. Local companies are encouraged to participate,” the statement said.

Buy Zimbabwe is a social enterprise at the forefront of advocating for a more viable, inclusive, sustainable and internally acceptable industry support system based on incentives for increased value chain based local procurement.

It Also advocates for disincentives to those continuing with importation of finished products and services. Buy Zimbabwe’s mandate is to promote, deepen and broaden the utilisation of locally sourced and produced resources.

The development comes at a time when Zimbabwe is estimated to export goods worth 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 million, cereals took US$270 million, plastics and plastic articles consumed US$263 million. While vegetables and oils gobbled US$153 million.

However, most locals have been left with no choice except to rely on imported goods owing to reduced industrial productivity prompted by a difficult operating environment.