ZIMBABWE is working on revamping the manufacturing of buses and trucks locally to curb continued imports, which are contributing to a bloated import bill.
Industry and Commerce Minister, Dr Sekai Nzenza, said on Friday that localising motor vehicle production was at the heart of her ministry’s thrust, and should buttress provision of reliable and cheaper public transport.
Government has recently been facilitating importation of buses from China and Belarus to beef up the Zupco fleet and Public Service Commission buses.
“However, continued importation of these buses is not sustainable in the long run and, therefore, going forward the thrust is to manufacture local buses to reduce the import bill,” said Dr Nzenza.
She said the thrust was to ensure that local industry is supported to enable it to increase the supply of locally manufactured buses and delivery trucks.
“This will not only boost this industry but will also benefit other upstream industries that provide inputs such as bolts, batteries, steel sheets, tyres, upholstery, paint, carpet manufacturers, among others.”
Minister Nzenza was speaking during the ministry’s strategic planning workshop, which ended in Bulawayo on Saturday.
Revamping the domestic industry value chain and other sectors is critical to positioning the country for enhanced earnings under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), whose roll-out is scheduled to begin in January 2021.