Zimbabwe is losing in excess of $2bn annually through the use of antiquated machinery, African Century Limited Managing director Stan Matiza has said.
Presenting on strategies for retooling industries for sustainable economic growth during a Zimbabwe-Botswana buyer-seller forum hosted by Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) in Bulawayo, Thursday, Matiza said a downward spiral in capacity utilisation has caused most firms to collapse due to viability challenges.
The forum ran under the theme, promoting trade and investment through business linkages.
Matiza said there is an urgent need to produce products that compete favourably locally and abroad – which requires new equipment and technologies that drive efficiencies and reduce costs.
“The World Bank estimated in its recent study that we need above $1,7 billion per year for retooling industries and over the next two decades around $33 billion. So this is the gap that we have as a country,” he said.
“The use of antiquated machinery in production processes significantly impacts on the quality of a significant contributor.”
CZI President Sifelani Jabangwe who spoke on trade and investment in the manufacturing sector to propagate industrial growth, decried the amount of money lost due to exporting products in their raw state.
Jabangwe emphasised on the need to resuscitate manufacturing industries so that products such as leather and cotton can be exported as finished products so as to maximise foreign currency generation.
“Zimbabwe needs to value-add commodities that already exist in the various sectors. That way we can maximise on the income we get,” said Jabangwe.
“Right now in the leather sector we export skin hides in a salted-wet for as little as $20 but if we could maximize on such platforms we would manufacture such products as shoes and export them at an even higher price which would boost the economy.
“We could also take advantage of the cotton produced in our country and manufacture clothing rather than export it in its raw state. If a kilogram of cotton can be sold for as little as a dollar, why not take that and manufacture a line of clothing that would generate much more money than that.”
He reiterated on the need to increase exports in existing markets in Zimbabwe.
“The engineering sector can be linked to the mining sector across the African region. By so doing, we would be exporting services thereby generating forex into the economy.
“It could resuscitate dams that are lying idle and use them to breed fish. These fish can be exported to countries such as Nigeria that have a high population, that way we can also create employment for the people,” the CZI boss said.
Jabangwe added that the horticulture sector is another potential foreign currency earner for the country.