THE Zimbabwe National Industrial Development Policy (ZNIDP) stakeholder consultations ended on a high note with stakeholders urging the government to be realistic on perceived targets if tangible growth is to be seen.
The remarks were made at the ZNIDP stakeholder validation workshop in Harare Tuesday in a bid to fine tune the policy framework set to run between 2024 to 2030.
The National Industrial Development Policy is the principal policy that drives the industrialization agenda of the country.
This Policy is informed by Vision 2030, the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), as well as regional and international policies on industrialization.
The forthcoming framework succeeds the ZNIDP 1 which ran from 2019 and will be cocluded at the end of 2023.
To this end, the first policy document is credited for spurring capacity utilization from 47% to 56,1% between 2020 and 2022.
The shelf-space occupancy of locally produced products also increased from 55% in 2021 to over 80% in 2022 with exports of manufactured products also increasing by 12,9% from US$324 million in 2021 to US$366 million in 2022.
The successive draft document which seeks to build on the initial one envisions attaining a manufacturing growth rate of at least 2 % per annum and, manufacturing sector investment growth rate of 3% per annum while increasing the share of the Manufacturing Value Added (MVA) in GDP to 20% by 2030.
The roadmap ambitiously intends to increase exports by 10% per annum and the share of manufacturing employment to a total of 20% by 2030.
"In line with our commitment to achieve balanced and inclusive development across all regions of Zimbabwe, the policy places a significant focus on promoting rural industrialization.
"Through targeted interventions and support mechanisms, we aim to unlock the potential inherent in our rural areas, ensuring that the benefits of industrial growth reach every corner of the nation," said the Industry and Commerce Ministry's permanent secretary, Doctor Mavis Sibanda.
However stakeholders attending the event immediately urged the government to set realistic targets which are cognizant of the country's contextual setup.
"We need to appreciate the fact that Zimbabwe is still at a bread and butter stage. So some of these targets have to be feasible. Let's look at our country's context and gravitate towards moving out of the challenges using internal solutions.
"Secondly, we need to desist from following the template of developed economies which are not at the stage we are at currently. Those countries made sacrifices and most of them who are now dictating the need to adhere to clean energy sources usage were not even so green when they developed their economies but now that they want to clean themselves they are setting high standards for us," said one participant.
Other participants urged the government to come up with tailor-made policies to nurture the SMEs sector decrying that the level of taxation small companies are being whipped with are just similar to that of bigger corporates, a development which in turn stifles industrial growth.
"There is an urgent need for the government to be strict on supporting locals by making sure that Public Procurement Policy is tilted towards consuming locally manufactured products.
"Enactment of a Local Content Strategy when in fact millions are being spent in purchasing foreign products by the government agencies and departments defeats calls to support local," another participant said.