Local companies urged to remain competitive

Zimbabwe will next week host the fourth Buy Zimbabwe annual conference in a move aimed at increasing and promoting the competitiveness of the Zimbabwean brand to stimulate economic growth.

Speaking at a press conference in Harare yesterday, the Buy Zimbabwe Executive Secretary, Norman Chakanetsa said this year event would seek to motivate and ensure that key players in the manufacturing of local brands remained competitive regardless of a harsh economic environment.

Said Chakanetsa: “Our efforts as an organisation are bearing fruit. We have realised increased partnerships from more than 50 corporates and this is a good indicator of the progress we are making towards promoting the local brands.”

He added that some major companies that had folded during Zimbabwe’s economic crisis that started in the late 1999s were making a comeback.

Said Chakanetsa: “There are several products that had disappeared from the shops which are back on the shelves. Companies such as Cairns Foods and United Refineries have made a comeback in a big way and this is a positive development especially for the country’s economy.”

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union has, however, indicated that company closures are increasing. Chakanetsa urged local companies to better the quality of their products so as to maintain their competitiveness.

“We need to increase funding levels so that if the money is circulating in our economy, industry is better positioned to increase their competitiveness,” he added.

Chakanetsa commended Zimbabweans for appreciating local products whose manufacture was creating jobs.

The Business Development Executive for Buy Zimbabwe, Alois Burutsa, hailed the recent ban on fresh produce imports saying it was a welcome development as it reduced the country’s import bill.

“The farmers should take advantage of this and fully utilise the land that they benefitted under the land redistribution exercise,” said Burutsa.

There are fears, however, that the protection of local farming products through the importations ban might drive shortages and prices hikes.

The Buy Zimbabwe conference, set to be held under the theme “Building competitiveness, leveraging on local and global opportunities” will discuss human capital, market share enhancement and funding.

The fourth since the initiative started, the conference seeks to promote dialogue among local companies to share their views, experiences and find solutions on how to deal with factors affecting them.

The expected guest speakers at the conference include the Deputy Reserve Bank Governor, Charity Dhliwayo, Industry and Commerce Minister, Mike Bimha, the President of the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (MAZ), Ruth Ncube and the President of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), Cephas Msipa.

Finance and Economic Development Minister, Patrick Chjinamasa, Founder of a South African company, Brands Africa, Thebe Ikalafeng, Public Services Minister, Nicholas Goche and Buy Zimbabwe Chairperson, Grace Muradzikwa, among others, will also be present at the conference.

Buy Zimbabwe seeks to promote the consumption, adoption and manufacture of local products.

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