ZNCC: stringent rules stifle economic growth

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THE Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) has called for the harmonization of policies from the Industry and Agriculture ministries, noting that uncoordinated policies were impeding growth in the agricultural value chain.
Speaking during a breakfast meeting held at the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show in Harare, ZNCC President Divine Ndhlukula said while it was necessary to regulate industry for the benefits that accrued to society, it had associated costs that could be passed either to the consumers or the producers.
She said the presence of such backward and forward linkages of the agriculture sector with agro-industries, services and trade sectors called for the identification of key issues of concern in the agriculture value chain.
Ndhlukula cited the example of the beef industry which she said faced constraints that had to do with the country’s regulatory environment for various sectors within agriculture and could negatively impact on national income.
“The total cost of compliance in the sector per animal slaughtered is around $98 and this is after going through about 10 regulatory processes; which include, Land Unit Tax, Rural District Council Levy, Police clearance, Movement permit,  EMA registrations and inspections, Carcass inspection fee, Carcass grading fee, Meat Inspection and Transfer Certificate. The cost negatively impacts on the development of the beef sector,” she said.
She also gave an example of the value chain from leather to leather products, where she said focus should be on transforming the leather value chain from the  production  and  export  of  raw  materials  and  partly  processed  products  to  the production and export of value added products such as finished leather.
“Particular focus must be on strengthening value chain networking, coordination and improving access to finance across the value chain. There needs to be proper coordination of these policies in the different ministries of Industry and that of Agriculture. They are not talking to each other,” she said.
Ndhlukula said there was need to correct terms of trade so that they were more favourable for agriculture, adding this would not only increase the flow of resources into the sector, but also help in the identification of research areas to enhance agriculture development.Advertisement

She said the ZNCC would continue to equip business with the requisite business development opportunities through lobbying, business advocacy, economic research, information dissemination, collaboration and facilitation with all stakeholders, government and regional counterparts.