Bulawayo — INDUSTRIES should not purport to support the Government during the day and turn into economic saboteurs by the night through unjustifiable practices that negatively affect the people, President Mnangagwa has said.
Officially opening this year’s 62nd edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo yesterday, the President said industry should complement Government’s endeavours through embracing innovation.
He said innovation was no longer a luxury, but a necessity if the country was to leapfrog its economy towards the realisation of Vision 2030, to become an upper middle income economy.
Vision 2030 is being pursued through the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), which places the private sector at the forefront of economically developing the nation.
To realise the Zimbabwean dream, all hands must be on the deck, the President said.
“Collectively, through hard honest work and ethical business practices, let us advance the goal of achieving the Vision 2030,” said President Mnangagwa.
“Business cannot purport to support Government by day and sabotage it by night, and thereafter, play the victim.
“It is imperative for us all to make strategic choices in the best interest of our country. The overall economic competitiveness of our country remains the duty of all of us as Government, industry, commerce and consumers alike.”
Lately, there has been a spate of unjustified price increases and the President has indicated that his Government, to cushion the consumer, is seized with drafting a battery of measures to bring economic stability and deal once and for all with economic saboteurs.
The 62nd ZITF, which has seen a 100 percent space occupancy, with over 70 exhibitors coming in for the first time, is being held under the theme, “Re-think, Re-imagine, Re-Invent Value Chains for Economic Development”, which should help “reinforce the relationship between agriculture and industry”.
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the global market, coupled with evolving global geopolitics, President Mnangagwa said there was need to relook at how companies conducted their businesses.
“Present realities have meant that industry re-looks at the impact of supply chain disruptions, matters related to financial health, risk management, customer engagement and behaviours, among other aspects,” he said.
“As Government, business and communities, we must all build back better, taking advantage of identified strengths while creating new opportunities in this increasingly volatile global economic environment.”
President Mnangagwa said since the country’s economy had moved from stabilisation to growth, “industry must accordingly go beyond merely staying afloat. All sectors are, therefore, challenged to adopt entirely new business structures, anchored on innovation development strategy.
“New business models, practices and processes should also result in increased production and productivity, growth and broader economic opportunities across all parts of the country for balanced economic development”.
Several countries, including the United Kingdom, had stands at this year’s ZITF, in a testimony of the success of President Mnangagwa’s engagement and re-engagement foreign policy, while the mantra “Zimbabwe is open for business” has also found global resonance as demonstrated by the 100 percent space uptake.
President Mnangagwa urged business “to manage risks, reduce costs, and improve efficiencies and overall competitiveness” saying “products and services of industry must continuously address the needs of our people and economy.
“Innovation is no longer a luxury for the future, but a necessity. Riding on the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, I call upon businesses and the manufacturing sector in particular, to re-engineer every aspect of their processes in line with present and future trends.
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“The effective use of the internet for e-commerce must see our sectors expand opportunities and increase their footprints in local, regional and international markets. Innovation is development and is the future, if you do not innovate, you will be left behind”.
The President was accompanied by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, Zanu-PF Vice President and Second Secretary Cde Kembo Mohadi, Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekesai Nzenza, Cabinet Ministers, senior Government officials and service chiefs.
Students from the country’s institutions of higher learning, who are cogs in the country’s industrialisation through innovative hubs and industrial parks initiated by President Mnangagwa, were also showcasing their innovations, along with Government departments, at the ZITF which ends today.