Manufacturing sector depressed


Godfrey Marawanyika

ZIMBABWE’S manufacturing sector continued in the doldrums in the first five months of the year as production declined by 13,4%, the Finhold group has said in its mont

hly report for October.


The decline last year was 8,3%.


“Provisional manufacturing output figures indicate that the manufacturing sector in Zimbabwe is still depressed,” the report said.


“Available figures show that the rate of growth in the overall index of volume of manufacturing production declined by 13,4% in the first months of 2004, compared to a decline of 8,3% registered in the corresponding period in 2003.”


The report said major contraction occurred in the sub-sectors of drinks, tobacco, metals and metal products, paper, printing and publishing and petroleum products which went down by 35%, 22,3%, 16,5%, 12,1% and 11,1% respectively.


“However, over the same period, significant growth occurred in textiles (including ginning, non-metalic, mineral products and transport equipment, up by 67,1% 21,4% and 15,7% respectively,” the report said.


“The decline in output during the period under review was largely attributed to, among other factors, depressed domestic demand, increased competition on the local market, particularly from products originating from Asia, shortages in foreign currency and in some instances low growth in exports.”


As a way of assisting firms survive, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has come up with the Productive Sector Facility.


The facility, which only attracts 50% interest rate, is expected to see capacity utilisation by industries increasing.


In July, the Central Statistical Office painted a gloomy picture of the state of manufacturing.