Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development Minister, Dr Mike Bimha, has said over 75 percent of goods in retail shops and wholesalers are now locally manufactured following a cocktail of measures Government put in place to promote local industry.
He made the remarks at the opening of Davipel's $12 million snack manufacturing plant at the firm's headquarters in Sunway City a fortnight ago after the company exported some of its products to South Africa and Zambia among other Sadc countries.
These initiatives are testament of Government efforts that seek to promote capacity utilisation by local firms and increased consumption of locally produced products.
This move is fundamental in reducing the demand for imports, which goes a long way in stabilising exchange rates and balancing terms of trade with international trading partners.
Consequently, Government has repealed Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 and consolidated various import licensing regulations under the newly gazetted Statutory Instrument 122 of 2017.
"We are happy to tell the nation that the opening of this state- of -the-art plant is a result of Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016, which is now Statutory 122 of 2017, which was critical for assisting increased domestic production and capacity utilisation.
"Consequently, 75 percent of the goods in our shelves are locally manufactured. When we put that SI (122) it was viewed as a draconian law but look at what it has done to some locals who are opening up some industries.
"The move is part of broader Government efforts to enhancing ease of doing business and address regulatory bottlenecks that are blamed for inhibiting exports," said Minister Bimha.
Government has removed all, except four strategic products -- fertilisers, second hand equipment, sugar, gypsum -- from export licensing requirements as gazetted through Statutory Instrument (S.I) 122 of 2017.
The opening of various factories in different sectors shows commitment by the Government to resuscitate local industries with many companies embracing the policy for its growth and job creation.
Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016, which removed a range of products from the Open General Import Licence, had generated a lot of anxiety in business circles at home and in the region.
The policy has, however, been credited for assisting increased domestic production and capacity utilisation.
Since its inception, S.I.64 of 2016 has helped the country to save about $2 billion, latest reports indicate.
Minister Bimha said Davipel has a very good thrust of value addition and beneficiation that was part of SADC industrialisation policy.
He said due to an increase in capacity utilisation, there is a high demand in forex, therefore there is need for producing more for exports.
Dr Bimha challenged local companies to capitalise on the opening up of trade areas in SADC, COMESA and Tripartite Free Trade Area.
Participating in these regions will help the local companies to earn much needed foreign currency for the country and local companies.