ZIMBABWE’S poor credit rating and a negative perception have been blamed for failure by companies to pin the much-touted “Proudly Zimbabwean” tag on their products, f
our months after the idea was mooted.
The concept is in line with the labelling of goods which meet laid-down guidelines in South Africa.
It is hoped the concept will entice locals to buy locally-made products rather than imports.
Industrialists said although the concept, borrowed from South Africa by central bank governor Gideon Gono, was noble, its implementation was bound to take time as firms were worried about their bottomline earnings.
Industrialists said exporting firms were mostly worried “xenophobic” tendencies towards Zimbabwean products would hurt their businesses, leading to reduced earnings.
At least two CEOs of firms listed on the local bourse said they were still to adopt the concept due to perceived repercussions it would have on their export performance and jobs.
The “Proudly Zimbabwean” idea was mooted by Gono in May after raising concern over the influx of foreign goods into the country.
While acknowledging the concept was noble on paper, captains of industry felt its implementation faced hitches because of the “bad boy” tag pinned on the country.
Gono’s concept was carried in the “Buy Zimbabwe” campaign meant to promote local goods.
He raised concern on the influx of substandard goods which he said posed a huge threat to the country’s battle against inflation and industrial turnaround.
However, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries vice-president Calisto Jokonya attributed the failure of the concept to huge amounts of money involved.
“While we are proud to be Zimbabwean, in my opinion if there are people who do not want to buy our products then we should not sell to them,” Jokonya said.
“We as the CZI encourage people to adopt that idea as we are proud to be Zimbabweans. There might be challenges in terms of implementation as labelling takes time since this is an investment. But if there are problems then people should come forward and discuss them.”
Early this year, the Standards Association of Zimbabwe started inviting bids to monitor and control goods which were finding their way into the country.
Most of the substandard goods which have resulted in industry virtually grinding to a standstill originate from West Africa and China.
Over the years, government has been lobbying that business shift attention to do business with the East instead of the West.
However, business leaders argue that they cannot look east and exclude others, saying it is contrary to the spirit of entrepreneurship.
Most of the products are easily finding their way into the country since unscrupulous nationals of Asia and West Africa, among others, abuse the friendly relations that exist between Zimbabwe and their respective countries.