Revive local motoring industry

HARARE - Efforts by local banks in trying to revive the motoring industry in Zimbabwe by providing loans to car manufacturers and individual buyers must be commended.

Although financial institutions have been affected by the harsh economic environment and bad loans, banks continue to be at the forefront of reviving most sectors in the country such as agriculture, small to medium scale enterprises and entrepreneurs, something the government has failed to do.

It is quite sad that Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries has been in the intensive care unit for too long, without any solutions coming forth. The firm, owned by government and Itochu of Japan, has churned out one sad story after another over the past few years as it succumbs to increasing competition from second-hand car imports and its failure to recapitalise.

What the company desperately needs at the moment are credit lines so that the local car industry can be resuscitated. The capacity is there but what has been lacking is the necessary supporting policy measures that include funding.

We strongly implore local banks to go out of their way and find sources of cheap money that can be loaned to local car manufacturers as a way of reviving the economy. Continued vehicle imports by both government and the public have greatly aided in the collapse of the economy.

It doesn’t make sense for the country, which is facing an acute liquidity crisis, to spend nearly a

$1 billion importing cars from elsewhere.

Were this money retained in the country, chances are that most companies would still be operational. Millions of dollars that are continuously being poured out by government in importing vehicles for ministers and their deputies, parliamentarians and other public officials would certainly help recapitalise Willowvale Mazda, generate jobs and contribute to the gross domestic product if deliberate efforts to support the assembly plant are applied.

However, it is unfortunate that we have a government that does not even appear willing to procure its own vehicles locally and inject life into the above  firm, which is facing collapse. If government was so concerned about empowering its citizens and promoting employment in the country, then it should lead by example and make every effort to revive the ailing motor industry.

Since government has over the years failed to find the resources to revive Willowvale Mazda in particular and other companies in general, the best they can do so is to enact laws that protect local industries from stiff competition by foreign companies.

There is no way we can revive our local industries when they are not adequately protected by government. The earlier the country starts implementing the special economic zones, the better for the economy.

Comments (1)

It's pointless if the price of the finished vehicle is uncompetitive. What is the use if politicians and parastatals only will be able to have those cars, bought them from national coffers.

Va-voom - 28 April 2014

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