Tanzania: Chinese Delegation in Tanzania to Explore Business Opportunities
South Africa to Take Over from Egypt As AU Chair 2020
World Bank providing Seychelles with assistance for planned technical and vocational school
Africa: Eastern Africa Advancing in Signing AfCFTA, Says Vera Songwe
President Sahlework Confers with Heads of FAO, UNESCO, FIFA
Ethiopia-Kenya Road Raises Trade by 400 Percent , Says AfDB President
Nigeria's GDP Grows By 2.38% in Q4 2018
Ghana: NDPC to Organise National Devt forum
Nigeria Re-Elected UN Peacekeeping Committee Chair
Egypt's Sisi meets with head of African Development Bank in Addis Ababa
Egypt has big opportunity to make progress in financial inclusiveness field: IMF
Governments are major consumers of goods in most economies and a decision compelling all State institutions to buy local products and buy foreign where substitution will be a supervening impossibility, has brought huge benefits to such economies.
It is against this backdrop that we applaud the Government of Zimbabwe’s enforcement of its “Austerity for Prosperity” mantra by demanding that ministers and legislators use locally assembled vehicles as the “pain” should not spare anyone regardless of their standing in society.
It is our humble submission that the directive, which has been snubbed for a long time, should also affect local authorities, parastatals and other companies where Government has significant shareholding.
The new political dispensation is committed to the country’s economic turnaround and has to date introduced a number of strategies that should see Zimbabwe attaining middle income economy status by 2030.
With efforts underway to revive the local motor industry, it is heartening to note that the Government has taken the first step to support the initiative and the move, we believe is already overdue.
The decision, once implemented will significantly increase production levels at local motor assembling plants resulting in the creation of over 40 000 jobs directly and indirectly, contributing to the general growth of the industry and national economy at large.
This should also see the strengthening of other downstream sectors such as tyre manufacturing, automobile upholstery and a litany of service providers in the motor industry that are operating at low capacity due to depressed volumes.
By buying local, there will be reduced foreign currency demand that can intern be rerouted to critical procurements such as drugs, capital projects and just general reserves for rainy days.
The revival of the motor sector should not be a herculean task considering that there are other plants such as Willowvale Motor Industries (WMI), a partnership with Beijing Automobile International Corporation (BAIC) of China and also Quest Motors in Mutare.
These firms are capable of producing good double and single cabs, SUVs and trucks. We wonder why Zesa, Zinwa, TelOne or NetOne need to spend millions in foreign currency importing trucks while there are substitutes that can equally perform the same tasks.
Government just needs to demonstrate political will and all the departments will follow suit and there will be no need for directives.
If such a decision is implemented, the local motor industry will witness a boom in production capacity, which is what is currently needed desperately.
We also feel that such a directive should be backed by Government support for investment finance at affordable rates, export incentives and secure technology from foreign partners reinforced by bilateral agreements.
The motor industry in the country has historically proven to be a significant contributor towards employment creation, value addition as well as contributing towards the gross domestic product (GDP).
Over the years, the sector had, however, lost its dominance due to the influx of pre-owned vehicle imports resulting in a dip in capacity utilisation and loss of thousands of jobs in the sector.
Numerous spare parts distributors also emerged that were offering inferior quality spares, which worsened the situation.
It is not, however, too late to change such a sad narrative to a positive one that can turn the local motor industry into a huge foreign currency earner, also exporting into the region and beyond.
Political will, legislative support, resources and a paradigm shift on the importance of buying local, and having management that is quick to make decisions, is what our Government needs to focus on to revive this sector with massive potential to keep the country rolling.
The Monitor (Kampala)
By Bill Oketch & Isaac Newton Abili
Government working with residents of Oyam District has endorsed a proposal to plant more than 240,000 trees in a bid to mitigate the effect of climate change.
At least 30,000 trees will be planted in each of the eight sub-counties that make up Oyam District. They are Aleka, Minakulu, Myene, Kamdini, Otwal, Ngai, Iceme and Abok.
So far, the government has made available Shs1.2 billion for tree planting and construction of community access roads in Oyam.
The development comes at a time when heat waves compounded by strong winds have swept through Lango Sub-region, making life difficult for locals.
Experts say the rise in temperatures and changes in the rainfall patterns is compounded by degradation of the environment, including deforestation and wetland encroachment.
In Oyam, high population has put a lot of pressure on land and its vegetation. There were 388,011 people living in Oyam as of 2014, according to the national population and housing census of 2014.
As a result, many people have now resorted to cutting down trees to burn charcoal and encroaching on wetland as a mechanism to earn a living.
Leaders observe that the destruction caused by the locals to the surroundings has affected the agricultural production and productivity in Oyam.
The chief administrative officer, Ms Dorothy Ajwang, said the district has received Sh1.2 billion from the office of the Prime Minister under phase three of the redevelopment plan – the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF3).
At least 40 per cent of the money will be used in planting both fruit trees and wood trees, while 60 per cent will be used in roadworks, the district accounting officer, said.
Tree seedlings will be procured and each sub-county will be given at least 30,000 seedlings to plant.
“We had planned that each sub-county in Oyam gets at least 30,000 seedlings. These seedlings will be handed over to the various groups already formed under NUSAF,” Ms Ajwang says.
The locals have been encouraged to embrace the initiative. They are also being motivated to plant wood trees such as eucalyptus and pine.
“When they grow, these trees will help locals in timber and they will maintain the environment in reducing unpredictable weather,” Ms Ajwang says.
Residents say they are pretty ready to engage in any activity that will help mitigate climate change.
Mr Walter Okullu, a resident of Abok Sub-county, says he will plant more than 200 trees this year.
“Oyam and Apac districts used to be the food basket for Lango but the pride is no more because of the changes in rainfall patterns brought about by a number of factors including the cutting down of trees,” he said.
“During those days, we would produce enough food both for commercial and subsistence – when the climate was still favourable but nowadays the production has been affected by the prolonged dry spelt,” another resident, Mr Charles Odoc, said.
The Oyam LC5 councillor representing Ngai Sub-county, Mr Walter Atoo, said the district council in 2018 agreed to start mass sensitisation of the community on the importance of tree planting.
Such mass sensitisation often takes place during public gatherings such as churches, burial and wedding ceremonies. School-going children are also being encouraged to plant trees in their schools, Mr Atoo said.
However, the LC3 chairman of Minakulu Sub-county, Mr John Ogwal, said the issue of mindset change has remained a stressing challenge.