Government has called for strong support in the purchasing of local products saying that economic development is hinged on the performance of the domestic market.
Presenting the 2023 National Budget yesterday at the recently commissioned Parliament of Zimbabwe in Mt Hampden, Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube said the suspension of duty on basic commodities which expired this month will not be extended and the government will continue to ensure normal pricing for basic commodities.
“The success of local products also hinges on the resilience of the domestic market. It is, therefore, important that consumers also commit to patronising locally made goods to support domestic firms and enable them to flourish. This also requires consumers to have a change of mindset and develop confidence in locally produced goods.
“You will recall that government suspended customs duty on basic commodities, in order to cushion consumers from unjustified prices increases. This measure has contributed to stability in the prices of basic commodities, hence, the suspension of duty, which expired on 16 November 2022, will not be extended. Government will, however, continue to monitor the prices of basic commodities, with a view to ensure responsible pricing and affordability, failure of which the suspension of duty will be reinstated, “ he said.
Minister Ncube added that interventions to enhance domestic production are being pursued by countries globally, more so in line with lessons from the covid-19 epidemic and geopolitical conflicts.
“Buy local content interventions are being implemented by countries worldwide to insulate economies from exogenous shocks, as well as meet employment, industrial or technological development objectives. The Covid-19 pandemic and increasing geopolitical tensions have given impetus to this policy thrust, with countries seeking to increase local content production across all sectors of the economy, in order to produce locally strategic commodities and services.
“In this regard, government will promote local content through targeted policies that shift the production structure towards value addition with higher productivity, better paid jobs and greater technological potential, leveraging on the country’s comparative advantage in mining and agriculture, that way, accelerating growth and economic diversification.
“Considerations are underway for the development of local content thresholds of all products and services in which the country has comparative advantage. Potential areas include pharmaceutical, fertilizer and packaging sub-sectors.
“ Already, increased domestic production of products such as wheat, medical supplies and cooking oil, among others, have enabled the country to alleviate the impact of external shocks, whilst also saving the economy on foreign currency outlays on imports.
“Demand and supply side policy options being considered going forward include, requirement for particular goods and services that must be purchased locally. This will be complemented by capacity building measures to enable local businesses to supply competitive goods, especially on quality,” he added.
The economy has been projected to grow by 3,8% in 2023 after growing by 4% in 2022. Nominal Gross Domestic Product is estimated at $21,8 trillion translating to US$33,7 billion, up from a 2021 comparative of $10,54 trillion.
The 2023 National Budget was presented during the Buy Zimbabwe Week which runs from the 21st to the 25th of November under the theme ‘Defend and grow Zimbabwean products market share’.