A number of factors are militating against Government’s efforts to turnaround the economy, but the earlier they are dealt with the better.
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was spot on this week when he emphasised the need for local industries to be more competitive if the economy is to achieve sustainable growth. Factors such as low domestic and foreign investments, high cost of doing business, liquidity constraints and poor infrastructure among others have constrained industrial competitiveness, forcing the country to rely heavily on imported products.
The net effect of lack of competitiveness has resulted in stunted recovery and growth of the economy.
The unsustainable level of imports has also worsened the liquidity situation when Zimbabwe needs to save as much as it can, given the fact that exports and investments are low while the country is not in a position to print its own currency.
It goes without saying that efforts by the Government to address competitiveness issues are a step in the right direction as far as enhancing industrial performance to stimulate growth is concerned.
VP Mnangagwa told a business conference at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair this week that the National Competitiveness Assessment Report will be unveiled by August this year.
The annual premier trade showcase, which started on Monday, is one of the platforms that Zimbabwe uses to address issues of competitiveness as it draws a wide range of exhibitors from different countries across the world that do not just come to exhibit, but also to share ideas that local companies can benefit from.
He said the report would highlight the country’s actual and evolving competitiveness issues presented through credible data and its interpreted implications.
VP Mnangagwa said some of the competitiveness issues facing the country included deficiencies in productivity, education and training, entrepreneurship and innovation, social economic and technological infrastructure, taxation and regulatory regime.
Therefore, the position being taken by the Government to address competitiveness will go a long way in eliminating some of the barriers inhibiting investments and productivity.
A country without a vibrant and sophisticated competitive industrial base cannot withstand cut-throat competition in the ever changing global business environment.
It is our belief that the Government should move with speed to implement these initiatives to unlock potential of the economy which has been suffocated by a myriad of constraints.
Already, Cabinet has approved principles on the proposed amendments to the National Incomes and Pricing Commission Act to pave way for the promulgation of the National Competitiveness Commission Act.
This will lead to the formation of the National Competitiveness Commission whose mandate would include addressing the cost and ease of doing business as well as harmonisation of laws and a reduction in the regulatory burdens on the business.
Among key functions of the proposed commission would be to continuously monitor the cost drivers in the business and economic environment and advise on measures to be taken to address current and emerging cost challenges, review business regulations and develop a list of priorities for reducing the cost of doing business.
The commission will also undertake research and maintain a comprehensive nationwide statistical database to be used in the analysis of competitiveness across all sectors of the economy, while also developing periodic competitiveness frameworks.
It would also monitor, investigate and analyse costs and price trends of goods and services in Zimbabwe and benchmark them with those prevailing in the region and beyond.
The proposed NCC would report to the Minister of Industry and Commerce.
Indeed success in turning around the economy will come from the collective effort of every patriotic Zimbabwean.
This requires dedication, full application, and the will to overcome against the odds.