Buy Zimbabwe, an organization that advocates for market access and the production and purchase of locally manufactured goods has called for an emergency meeting with wholesalers and retailers to discuss the impact of measures to stabilise the economy announced this Thursday by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube which include lifting import duties on basic commodities.
The meeting which is set to take place next week aims to formulate a response to the measures which could scupper the drive to deepen local value chains and negatively impact on the viability of local enterprises.
In a press statement released today, Buy Zimbabwe Chairman Munyaradzi Hwengwere urged retailers and wholesalers to attend the meeting in order to discuss ways to mitigate potential negative effects of the measures to ensure that businesses are not adversely affected and to presented the responses to the government.
“In light of the Minister’s announcement, Buy Zimbabwe is therefore calling for an emergency meeting next week with wholesalers and retailers, convened to formulate a response to the announced measures which will be forwarded to government.
“It is our firm belief and conviction that if local industry continues to receive support from government, Zimbabwean companies will not only provide products which are cheaper and competitive, but can also satisfy local market demand and the export market.
“Buy Zimbabwe is however concerned that some of the measures announced such as the scrapping of duty on imported products will reverse the industrialisation gains scored by the Second Republic in the last few years.
“This includes the rise in capacity utilisation by industry to 66 percent and the increase in the amount of shelf space taken in wholesale and retail outlets by local good to about 70 percent.
“ All these developments have been a result of the unwavering support given to local industry which has responded by deepening and accelerating local value chains to boost output and create jobs, pride and wealth for Zimbabweans.
“Buy Zimbabwe remains committed to the production, promotion and preference of local products and services to create and preserve jobs, wealth and pride,” he said.
Hwengwere said that Buy Zimbabwe supports government initiatives to tame inflation and protect consumers from recurring price increases.
“We support government’s focus and fight against inflation and the protection of the consumer from rampant price hikes,” he added.
Government lifted all restrictions on the importation of basic commodities to increase market supplies and granted 100 percent retention of domestic foreign currency earnings with a further fine-turning of the official foreign exchange auction system expected to tackle resurgent price hikes and stabilize the economy.
In addition, the Treasury will henceforth adopt all external loans to the Government and continuously review domestic interest rates to promote wider local currency usage by key economic players. The interventions have been necessitated by the rising concerns over the continued weakening of the Zimbabwean dollar which has seen parallel market rates move up to over US$1:ZWL 2,500 in recent weeks.