PRESIDENT Mnangagwa is expected to launch a US$300 million facility for the manufacturing sector at this year’s Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) annual congress set to be held in Harare next month.
One of the major challenges that have affected the local manufacturing sector is related to unlocking fresh lines of credit to facilitate several programmes such as retooling that individual firms have embarked on to boost their operational capacity and efficiency.
The need for retooling by the manufacturing sector is on the back of the antiquated plant and equipment that most companies are using, resulting in consultant breakdowns of machinery and thus affecting output or and capacity utilisation.
It is in this context that the Government has in the past come up with several other financial packages to bail out local firms in their quest to retool and address working capital constraints.
In 2018, the manufacturing sector indicated that it needed US$1,7 billion annually for retooling.
Addressing journalists at the CZI offices in Harare on Friday, the industrial body’s chief executive officer, Ms Sekai Kuvarika, said the first day of the three-day event would focus on funding innovations and opportunities.
“We are going to be having an exhibition of providers of funding to business and industry and these include development partners and local funding institutions. One of the key highlights is that on the same day, working in partnership with Loita Capital and Raindew Trading we are launching a US$200 million facility for industry financing, procurement of raw materials, equipment and working capital.
“We will also launch a US$100 million facility for possible investments into other value chains . . . there will be a detailed presentation on what that facility is. It’s an online trading platform which comes with these facilities and we are in agreement with Loita Capital and this is initially extended to CZI members as it were,” she said.
“We have invited His Excellency Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa to be at the conference and also then officially launch the facility (US$300 million) that l have introduced to you.”
The nitty gritties of the above facility could not be immediately established with the CZI president Mr Kurai Matsheza who was also at the media briefing, saying disclosing such details was tantamount to pre-empting information that should be provided during the launch.
This year’s CZI conference will be held from September 7 to 9 under the theme, “Glocalise”.
On the first day of the conference, Ms Kuvarika said, CZI chief economist Dr Cornelious Dube, is expected to make a presentation on funding for industrialisation.
Said the CZI chief executive officer: “You will notice that we have gone through a few cycles of industrial policy in the country, we have also gone through a few phases in terms of developments in our industry and in our business and we are coming to the end of the current industrial and trade policies which are terminating in 2023.
“We are beginning to have conversations build-up around what would really inform the next generation of industrial and trade policies and one of the key issues you would note is funding industrialisation.”
Players in the insurance sector among others were also expected at the CZI annual conference to unpack what innovations there could be that would unlock funding for industrialisation and business.
The second-day of the conference business leaders will see exchanging ideas and hearing from key presenters on issues of geo-politics, geo-economics and the emerging trends across all the global dynamics and what these mean for Zimbabwean business and the economy at large.
Following Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, Zimbabwe has not been spared from the impact of the conflict in that part of the world taking into account that the two warring nations are the world’s major suppliers of commodities such as petroleum and cereals such as wheat and maize.
Consequently, the supply of the above commodities remains subdued while demand is constant, triggering imported inflationary pressures the world over.
“Taking note of the fact that we are a small economy and a small population in comparison with other big economies and also that we are too small to impact the world, we need to deliberate or do something to make a mark about how we want to impact the world.
“But we are also small enough to be impacted by global events, in a way that can also be catastrophic, so it’s important for us to also navigate through some of the global and continental developments and what they would mean for the Zimbabwean economy and also what they would mean for business, entrepreneurship and funding of new enterprises and for our innovation drive in the country,” said Ms Kuvarika.
She said delegates would look at various scenarios and try to position industry in light of the global developments.
On the last day of the conference, focus will be on how industrialists and businesses build an effective economic growth coalition between themselves as private sector and the Government.
“We are holding two sides of very important aspects in our economy where we have policy-making with Government and businesses doing business in an environment and where also we have clearly well-subscribed to aspirations of an upper middle-income economy status.
“We have a proactive engagement which helps Government and business work towards a common goal and towards milestones and engagements based on problem-solving or exploring challenges,” she said.
At the conference, CZI membership is expected to learn how other governments and businesses have managed to collaborate effectively and input will also be on the key drivers of global competitiveness and derive lessons for application to the Zimbabwean situation.
Five international speakers are expected to physically attend the event .