‘Lockdown presents opportunity to support import substitution programme’

FINANCE and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, has said the Covid-19 lockdown presents an opportunity for rejuvenation of local supply chains and promotion of import substitution through increased production.

The local manufacturing sector has been battling stiff competition from imported products, resulting in depressed capacity utilisation.

Before the Covid-19 outbreak, some companies across the value chain were importing the raw materials and thus causing the country to lose more foreign currency resources.

“Covid-19 is presenting some of the opportunities because of slow access to raw materials,” said Prof Ncube while addressing Bulawayo business leaders during a meeting held in the city last Friday.

“This will cause disruption of what we call global value chains. So, we need to produce some of the material locally and there is potential for some companies to do this locally.”

He said there was a need for Government and the private sector to work together to support value chain localisation.

“We all need to work together, Government and industries, to support the value chain localisation process or import substitution programme.

“I am very keen to set up a value chain intervention group between yourselves the private sector and Government,” said Prof Ncube.

“I want to know what we can substitute sector by sector, what we as Government ought to do to support that value chain intervention.

“I want to set up this group and I want to know where we can intervene and how we can support you.”

He expressed concern over the slow uptake by the private sector of Government’s stimulus package aimed at cushioning businesses from the adverse effects of Covid-19 and lockdown.–chronicle.cl.zw

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