BY NIZBERT MOYO
INDUSTRIALISTS have complained that businesses in the country are operating in a high cost environment where taxation and labour costs were impacting operations.
This was revealed during a recent tour of industries throughout the country by joint Parliamentary Portfolio Committees on Foreign Affairs and Industry and Commerce.
They called on government to ensure there is ease of doing business in the country, and the Industry ministry to make sure that challenges pertaining to export regulations, permits and procedures were addressed.
Arenel Sweets and Biscuits official Stephen Ncube told MPs that some of the challenges they faced included delays at Beitbridge Border Post, which affected the quick and smooth movement of goods and raw materials, giving advantage to cheap finished products imported into the country that compete with locally manufactured goods.
“There are too many regulations in place deterring exports, for example, the control of goods, licensing procedure, and delays in the settlement of forex bids,’’ Ncube said.
Industry and Commerce ministry secretary Marvis Sibanda said government was implementing a border post modernisation programme at Beitbridge, which was targeted at improving border infrastructure and reducing border inefficiencies.
She said her ministry would collaborate with tertiary institutions for development of home-grown technological solutions and to monitor the cost drivers in industry to enhance cost-effective production.
“The setting up of the National Competitive Commission will assist in interrogation of value chains and issues in the high cost environment,” Sibanda said.
She said they would carry out benchmarking surveys with regional counterparts and then advise industry on best practices the country can adopt in order to be competitive, especially with the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Sibanda said the ministry would also focus on skills development, digitisation of production processes, and other innovation to promote the country’s competitiveness.
- Follow Nizbert on Twitter @N.M