Friday, March 30, 2012

(HERALD) New industrial, trade policies launched

New industrial, trade policies launched
Friday, 30 March 2012 00:00
Sydney Kawadza Assistant News Editor

THE European Union should engage Zimbabwe in good faith for the total and unconditional removal of illegal sanctions, President Mugabe has said. This would enable Zimbabwe achieve its aspirations in sustainable, balanced and equitable economic growth and development.

Officially launching the Industrial Development and National Trade policies in Harare yesterday, the President said sanctions undermined Zimbabwe’s full participation in world trade. “As a full-fledged member of the World Trade Organisation, the time may have come for the Zimbabwe Government, supported by Sadc and Comesa regions, to formally raise legal concerns over the hindrance posed by these sanctions to the free trade principles espoused by the WTO,” he said.

The Industrial Development Policy (2012-2016) seeks to transform Zimbabwe from a producer of primary goods to a producer of value-added goods for domestic and export markets.

It will also promote viable industrial and commercial sectors as well as domestic and international trade for a vibrant, self-sustaining and competitive economy.

The policy seeks to restore the manufacturing sector’s GDP contribution from 15 percent to 30 percent, exports from 26 percent to 50 percent by 2015 consistent with the Medium Term Plan.

It targets an average real GDP growth of 7 percent.

The policy looks at creating additional employment in the manufacturing sector, increase capacity utilisation from 57 percent to 80 percent, re-quip and replace obsolete machinery, new technologies for import substitution while enhancing value addition, among other objectives.

The National Trade Policy has a vision to have trade function as the engine for sustainable economic growth while facilitating the productive sectors towards export-orientation and international competitiveness.

It seeks to ensure Zimbabwean firms and households enjoy continued access to a wide range of high-quality goods and services.

The policy seeks to increase exports, promote the diversification of Zimbabwe’s export basket and increase export earnings by at least 10 percent annually from US$4,3 billion in 2011 to US$7 billion in 2016.

It will promote and enhance value addition of primary commodities and restore the manufacturing sector’s contribution to export earnings from 16 percent to 50 percent by 2016.

The policy is intended to consolidate and expand existing export markets and explore new markets while expanding into regional markets for deeper regional integration.

It will enhance trade facilitation to expedite trade flows by reducing and eliminating barriers and give guidance on trade policy instruments such as tariffs, non-tariff measures and trade defence mechanisms to promote trade, protect industry from unfair trade practices while improving access to goods and services.

President Mugabe said the policies came at the right time with the economy showing signs of recovery due to bold measures Government is pursuing.

The measures include the Medium Term Plan which establishes national priorities necessary for Zimbabwe’s development.

Cde Mugabe said the policies are instruments for attaining goals, objectives and targets set out in the Medium Term Plan.

“Zimbabwe is renowned for its abundant natural resources which nearly always have been exported in their raw form.

“By making provision for processing and beneficiation of raw products, the Industrial Development Policy addresses the erosion of capacity utilisation in industry which had substantially declined to below 10 percent.”

The President said the policy will reverse the trend which saw imports rise to 66 percent against 34 percent in exports between 2009 and 2010.

He said the policy should proffer solutions to address the increased vagaries of weather patterns and contribute towards development of drought-tolerant crop varieties while enhancing water utilisation.

President Mugabe said the National Trade Policy will ensure Zimbabwe’s full participation in the global market while harmonising a number of trade-related laws and regulations.

“The new policy document therefore seeks to leverage the revised Industrial Development Policy and provide guidance on future negotiations for any agreements between the country and her trading partners . . . ”

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai called for the full implementation of such policies.

“We should move from a culture of crafting papers that are not implemented.”

He said Zimbabwe had the potential to attract investors because of its vast mineral resources.

“I had an opportunity to attend investor conferences in South Africa and England and there is massive interest investing in Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular.

“Notwithstanding the political differences there is interest from investors in Africa with Zimbabwe being the main target,” he said.

PM Tsvangirai also called for an inclusive approach from all sectors for the success of the policies.

The launch was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, Cabinet ministers, senior Government officials, captains of industry and commerce and diplomats.

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