Manufacturing sector capacity grows

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Harare (New Ziana) – Capacity utilisation in Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector closed the year 2021 at 66 percent, with beverage and tobacco companies ranking highest at 79 percent, latest statistics by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency show.

The statistics, for the period October-December, are contained in the fourth quarter 2021 Business Tendency Survey released by Zimstat on Monday.

According to the statistics, 37 percent of the proportion of surveyed manufacturers reported increased production levels over the last three months of 2021.

“Drinks, tobacco and beverages industry group recorded the highest capacity utilisation value of 79 percent and the other manufactured products group booked the least utilisation value of 15 percent,” the report said.

“The survey results showed that capacity utilization in the manufacturing sector for fourth quarter 2021 was 66 percent, representing a one percentage point increase from the third quarter value of 65 percent.”

According to the report, manufacturers were optimistic of recording further growth this year mainly because of an improving business environment.

“At least 51 percent of the respondents were more optimistic towards an increase in production levels in the next three months,” the report said.

“Respondent’s views towards current levels of local order books were such that only 12 percent viewed them as being above normal for the season during the fourth quarter while 73 percent indicated that they were normal for the season. Current levels of export order books were regarded as above normal by 7 percent of the respondents.”

Commenting on the results, Zimstat director general Taguma Mahonde said the manufacturing sector was one of the key drivers of economic growth.

As such, he said, it was important for Zimstat to provide official statistics to inform policy and decision making, targeting economic growth, development and enhanced welfare.

“The fourth quarter 2021 Business Tendency Survey was undertaken with the objective of producing indicators for use in monitoring current business situation and short-term developments in the sector. Data was collected on opinions of senior managers of 146 high value manufacturing companies with respect to business conditions. The survey achieved a response rate of 63.8 percent,” he said.

“The Business Tendency Survey is among the undertakings that Zimstat is reviving, having last conducted the exercise in 2015. Worth noting is that the survey was conducted in the manufacturing sector as a starting point. Beginning first quarter 2022, the survey will be expanded to cover the mining, retail, wholesale, accommodation as well as finance sectors of the economy.”

The growth recorded in the manufacturing sector is a positive sign that government’s economic policies are supporting and stimulating industrial revival.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared 2022 as a year of growth, as the economy moves from the recovery phase, transitioning firmly towards an upper-middle income status by 2030.
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