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Shunning local products destroys industry

After receiving an email from a friend, I felt obliged to share it. I paraphrased it below.

by Adolf Chirimuta

Picture this: A man works for a company that makes local Zimbabwean margarine, he discusses with his wife how tough things are at work due to the low demand for margarine and explains that this is the reason why his salary was paid late. He proceeds to give his wife the money for their groceries.

The following day his wife goes out and buys “cheaper” imported products, including imported margarine.
The following month the margarine plant downsizes and her hubby is retrenched.

So, are the wives who buy groceries destroying their husbands’ sources of income? Did the wife indirectly fire her hubby?

If this is being replicated throughout the country, are we not being irresponsible with our purchasing power and purchasing decisions and creating jobs for South Africa, China and other nations while our children are without jobs? Is this not similar to cutting all trees and hunting animals into extinction because of decisions and choices that we make? I believe we (you and me) are the largest culprits to blame for the current state of our economy. (Not entirely of course!)

Remember what happened to the textile factory employees when mabhero [bales of second-hand clothes] started coming into the country and trade started with China?

I make margarine for you and you make maize-meal for me, another guy drives me to work in his bus and my friend makes plastic packaging for the maize-meal that you make. A cousin of yours makes cooking oil and his brother makes corn cereals, his sister makes clothes for everybody, etc.

But if one of these products is imported, then one person or several people become unemployed. If more of the products are imported, more people become unemployed. So make sure at least half of what you buy are local products, that way, you will help create jobs in Zimbabwe.

You will help save my job and I will help save your job and the government will collect taxes and sort out the water and power issues (hopefully). We have the power to help each other. Let’s create jobs here and not for South Africa or China, by buying Zimbabwean products.

Every time you buy a product, you create a job somewhere, so why not create that job here for someone that you know and that way, you won’t have to pay school fees for your brother’s children because he will be able to pay it himself. Your kids will have jobs here and not have to go job-hunting in South Africa when they finish school. Before we blame others for our state of affairs, let’s do our bit by buying Zimbabwean products.

In light of this, I was moved to think that we are the authors of our own financial quagmire as a nation. My suggested solution is in us adopting what has been termed the spider web doctrine as a lifestyle, if not a national policy, because government is also guilty of preferring imported goods and services, and this will help us to earn more and generate some local savings.

The spider web doctrine simply entails what has been described above, I buy my groceries from the local general dealer wepa [round the ] corner who has purchased them from the local manufacturer weku [from the] home industry, so that the money stays within our community instead of a reverse scenario, where, as if to show you that I have made it in life and as a status symbol, I buy my groceries from foreign-owned shops, who eventually channel the money to their home countries.

Instead of sending my car for service to the unemployed yet qualified and skilled young man down my street, I send it to some fancy garage whose name I cannot even pronounce because it is so foreign and a tongue-twister.

In simple layman’s terms, when you want to buy something, goods or services, first think of the person you are directly connected to — who happen to be countless, hence the name spider web — who offers what you need. Always give them the first right of refusal to supply you.

This kind of behaviour has far-reaching dire effects on the economy, although they may be felt in the most subtle of ways. I am calling for an immediate paradigm shift for the adoption of the spider web doctrine as a personal lifestyle.

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