THE government has come up with yet another ambitious six-year industrialisation plan whose success is hinged on support from broader business sectors and labour, bus
inessdigest learnt this week.
The 2004-2010 Industrial Development Policy (IDP), spearheaded by Samuel Mumbengegwi’s Industry and International Trade ministry, is founded on the principle of tripartite participation in decision-making and goal-setting.
Zimbabwe, hit by the sterility of a number of policy blueprints unveiled in recent years, hopes the IDP would ignite meaningful commercial activity, arrest massive de-industrialisation and 70% job losses in the economy.
Its strengths, the promoters say, lie in the transformation of primary goods into processed goods.
The policy also insists on high-growth sectoral development approaches that the government has singled out the agro chemicals, arts and culture, cement, clothing and textiles sectors as some of those priority-development sectors.
Also included are the construction, electronics, fertiliser, food, furniture, jewellery, metals and steel, motor industry, pharmaceuticals, wood and tobacco manufacturing sectors.
Harare’s recognition of labour, largely represented by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), as a key component of the economic thought-process marks a departure from its tough stance not to involve labour in many policy issues because of labour-support for political opposition groups.
Reads part of the policy document: “In order to fulfil our vision of the industrialisation, close co-operation between, business and labour is imperative.
“Industrialpolicy is found-ed on the principal participation in decision-making, goal-setting and correspon-ding tripartite acceptance of responsibility for the successful implementation of the strategy,” it said.
While relations have soured to an extent that mainstream labour, led by the ZCTU, has pulled out of the existent tripartite negotiating forum, the government has pledged to make appropriate policy interventions.Under the plan, the government hopes that the private sector will identify, recommend and implement strategic action plans on a subsector basis.
On the other hand, government also expects labour to mutually support the industrialisation process through commitment to enhanced productivity and international competitiveness, which is a veiled plea that labour moves away from previous calls for damaging countrywide strikes.
“Wage rate increase, which are tied to the corresponding increase in productivity will duly ensure price stabilisation,” the document says.
On its part, government has provided softer productive sector funds (PSF) to the tune of $2 trillion.
It also says it will continue to explore ways of enhancing tax incentives in respect of value addition in priority areas.
“…Concessional funds will be provided in the focussed sub-sectors. Policies that encourage investment in new technologies that modernise operations and enhance capacity utilisation will be pursued.”
Last month, the government also launched the country’s fifth economic recovery paper, which will run for two years.
Government, however, concedes that the existence of bottlenecks of financing has really affected the productive sectors and the PSF assistance is not enough.