Buy Zimbabwe pushes for law to support local industry
This comes as Mutare-based motor vehicle assembler – Quest Motors, has also expressed disappointment at being overlooked by Parliament for the supply of legislators’ vehicles, which they argue is depriving the domestic automobile industry of critical support.
Hwengwere said ordering the vehicles locally would have helped kick-start the entire value chain around the automobile industry.
“It’s a no brainer. At the height of the motor industry, it used to feed such a strong value chain that those yellow US school buses’ glass used to be imported from Zimbabwe. “It used to export exhausts, tyres, batteries, carpets among many products whose production was being supported by the industry,” Hwengwere said.
He said the country’s problem was in part to do with a failure to appreciate how everything was interlinked. “Consistently and persistently, we have been importing over US$2 billion of products we can either grow or produce locally.
“We are operating in silos and don’t see how every action is related to everything else …
“Buying locally could have provided a kick-start to the value chain.
“We now need to put regulations that compel, especially public institutions, to buy locally and support local industries,” he said.
The Buy Zimbabwe founder added that the choice of supplier for the lawmakers should not have been subject to debate as the local car manufacturers benefit a long value chain if supported. Quest Motors general manager Tom Sarimana said locally assembled vehicles would create local employment and benefit downstream industries as well as save on foreign currency.
“The country losses less forex on kit price plus massive saving on transport cost and local labour along with local inputs such as paint, springs, batteries to name a few. “It’s a holistic approach to getting industry going … who benefits from imports?” Sarimana queried.
He said legislators and government should show greater support for the local industry as buying locally would also be a direct way of supporting long-suffering Zimbabweans both in urban and rural areas.
“We wish to see MPs and the government speaking with one voice to support local industry and create the much-needed employment to our children there by servicing the urban constituencies as well, whose population nurtures the rural constituents too,” Sarimana said.
Quest which has been operating at two percent capacity has been complaining that government has not been following up on its word despite assurances even by President Emmerson Mnangagwa himself of support only to go on to prefer imports.