9 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Quest Motors Bemoans Lack of Support for Local Products

Mutare — A local car accessory company has called on the government to implement laws that support the production and consumption of local products, saying that is the only way Zimbabwean companies can survive.

Quest Motors operations manager, Tom Sarimana, said it was crucial for government, parastatals and individuals to support local products.

"The company has enough resources and capacity to reclaim its status as a giant motor assembling company if government renders us the necessary support," he said.

"The market response to our new products has been extremely poor and disappointing. Despite strenuous efforts to market our vehicles on the local market, the response has been very low."

Sarimana's calls come as there is a growing chorus to have Zimbabwe protect its industry if it is to recover from more than a decade long downturn.

Cheaper foreign imports, particularly from China and South Africa dominate the market and are all but suffocating the local industry.

However, the country is in a catch-22 situation, as sometimes the local manufacturing industry is not able to meet demand, forcing the government to rely on imports, which are usually cheaper and are detrimental to local industry.

Sarimana said the government, which he said was traditionally their biggest market, had shunned their products preferring imports from South Africa.

"The Government Tender Board has also snubbed our proposals, preferring to award tenders to middle men who also import vehicles from South Africa and beyond," he said.

He added that the company had embarked on a regional marketing drive with the hope that they would find buyers from the Sadc region, who would snap up what locals shunned.

"The move is encouraging, but we cannot export the vehicles because government and Zimra legislation stipulate that our products should have 40% local content to qualify for export," explained Sarimana, adding that government also reduced duty on imported trucks to 10%, effectively killing the local industry.

"We call upon government to address our plight. We have adequate resources to take the company to greater heights, but we need the support of all stakeholders. We have been involved in various programmes to market our products, for instance, road motor shows as we intend to attack the market aggressively," he said.

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