Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Government is working with the World Bank on a $6,5 million programme to improve industrial productivity and business competitiveness. President Mugabe revealed this in his address to mark the country’s 35th independence anniversary on Saturday. “We also observe that the manufacturing sector underperformed in 2014 and remains subdued in 2015. This is caused by an array of challenges which the sector is persistently experiencing. These include, but not limited to, antiquated plant and machinery, inflexible labour laws, influx of cheap imports, high cost of production and the prevailing liquidity constraints.

“To ameliorate the recurrent problems, the World Bank, in partnership with Government, will soon launch a $6,5 million business enabling environment programme, which seeks to improve the business operating environment aimed at consequently raising business productivity and injecting competitiveness,” President Mugabe said.

Observers have called on Government to urgently address the operating environment and reduce bureaucracy as a way of attracting more investment.

President Mugabe also said Government was committed to turning around the performance of parastatals and other state enterprises to reduce their burden on the fiscus and commended the World Bank for supporting initiatives to reform such institutions.

“Government will continue to monitor and strengthen the performance of state enterprises in order to improve service delivery and reduce the burden on the fiscus.

“Given the prevailing circumstances, it shall be necessary to interrogate the mandates of the various enterprises and this should determine the decisions we make concerning the enterprises.

“To this end I wish to commend the World Bank for putting forward $6 million in support of the parastatal reform programme,” President Mugabe said.