Zimbabwe: 'Mining Firms Must Source Local Products'

GOVERNMENT should stipulate that mining houses source related products and accessories locally to boost the performance of industries, the country's sole manufacturer of conveyor belts has said.

General Beltings general manager, Joseph Gunda said local mining companies had an appetite for foreign goods that were coming into the country at the expense of local companies.

"If the economy is to be revived, there must be concerted efforts to ensure that companies procure their products and raw materials locally. If you notice, in the country mining is going up in terms of production but the manufacturing is going down and that's an indication that there is a disparity there," he said.

"We are saying, where there is a product that is available locally, we urge the local industry to support."

Many local manufacturers and companies in the country are operating below capacity. This is attributed to ageing equipment and unfair competition from imported products.

Gunda dismissed claims that local products were of poor quality saying his company has been supplying conveyor belts to Zambia, South Africa, Botswana and Malawi.

Gunda also said mining firms were reluctant to pay cash when dealing with local companies.

"Our friends in the mining sector . . . when they import, pay cash up front but when they source locally they don't. We sometimes give them credit of 30 days or 60 days but still [they] take time to pay," Gunda said.

Gunda said government should put fair tariffs on imported products to ensure there was a level playing field with locally-produced goods.

"If for example local companies are procuring raw materials to make a product, be it from South Africa, duty is charged. When the same product is imported from South Africa, it comes in duty free. Already there is an uneven playing field," he said.

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