Private sector confident in ED
ZIMBABWE’s private sector has expressed confidence in President Mnangagwa’s administration, saying it has the capacity to turn around the country’s economic fortunes to achieve middle-income economy status by 2030.
Since coming into office in November 2017 and following the 2018 harmonised elections, President Mnangagwa has pledged to turn around the country’s economic fortunes.
Even at events where politics is ordinarily supposed to take centre stage, the President has not missed the opportunity to remind Zimbabweans, and the world at large, that Zimbabwe is open for business and that his administration is working hard to rebuild the economy.
This focus on the economy has been welcomed by the business community. Innscor Africa Limited, one of the country’s single largest conglomerates with interests across the retail, agro-processing, agro-industrial and manufacturing sectors, has expressed confidence in the new dispensation’s capacity. The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) listed entity has said it is happy that President Mnangagwa’s Government is directing its energy towards the economy. “We are extremely encouraged by the policies
outlined by the country’s new leadership and it is clear that all key stakeholders must become aligned if these policies are to be successfully implemented,” said Innscor’s chairman, Mr Addington Chinake.
Mr Chinake said the Group is witnessing the positive impact of Government’s policies.
“The economy has started to show some growth, evidenced by good levels of volumes across our platforms over the past few months,” he said.
Innscor said it will continue to support Government’s policies aimed at making the country more self-suf- ficient through initiatives such as contract farming of maize, wheat and soya beans as well as identification of opportunities to increase local production of milk.
As a show of confidence, Innscor is also looking at expanding its operations to meet “increasing demand.
“We are extremely optimistic with regards to the country’s growth potential and have commenced expansion projects in each of the individual businesses to meet increasing demand.”
He said in order to sustain the Group’s current growth rate and associated imported raw material requirements, it will also be imperative to evaluate investment opportunities with large export potential, even if they are outside the Group’s current focus.
Growing and diversifying the export sector is one of Government’s economic thrust amid efforts to grow foreign currency earnings, which has become an impediment to growing the economy.
Also impressed by what is happening in the economy is hotelier Rainbow Tourism Group, with chairman Mr Sijabuliso Biyam saying the business is “encouraged by the opportunities that are being presented by an economy that is opening up to the world.”
In a statement accompanying the Group’s financial results, Mr Biyam said tourism globally depends on a strong and positive nation brand that guarantees travellers their safety, security and unique experiences.
“The changes that have taken place, culminating in a successful holding of the country’s elections, have sent the right message to the world.
The upgrading of core infrastructure around the country, including airports, roads and hotels will go a long way in generating enhanced revenues for the industry and business,” he said.
Quick services restaurant company, Simbisa, also expressed optimism that “stabilisation in the socio-political environment and the impending economic reform in the wake of elections will pave the way for continued growth and new opportunities.”
Listed insurance company, Fidelity Life, added its voice on positive developments in the country, saying economic reforms and international re-engagement remain at the core of the out-turn of the Zimbabwean economy in the medium to long term.
Businessman and chief executive officer of Impala car rental, Dr Thompson Dondo praised President Mnangagwa for bringing in a new work ethic in Government.
He also called on the private sector to support Government in its endeavours.
“The private sector must not only give President Mnangagwa and his Cabinet a chance to revive the economy, we must also play a part as business and support them.
Dr Dondo captured the anxiety that is in the country and encouraged the nation to be patient.
“So much is expected from this Government such that some people are expecting miracles within a few weeks.
They want bank queues for cash to immediately disappear.
They want jobs immediately. They want pay increases immediately.
Measures are being put in place and results will start showing in due course,” he said. Work still to be done Fidelity Life chairman Mr Fungai Ruwende said if the country is to brighten its economic prospects, Government has to be intentional and forward looking in implementing measures that will stabilise the challenging and unsettled economic environment that industry is currently operating in.
The same sentiments were shared by Axia chairman Mr Luke Ngwerume.
In a statement accompanying the Group’s financial results, Mr Ngwerume said the Group is hopeful that in the “medium to long term, the country will restore business confidence and offer good prospects for sustainable growth despite the current prevailing economic realities.”
Some of the biggest challenges still faced by businesses include but are not limited to foreign currency shortages to import adequate raw materials as well as the high cost of doing business.
But with the election phase now behind us, business is happy that attention is now directed towards resolving some of the challenges facing the economy.
National Foods, one of the leading players in the provision of basic commodities, said the direct and increasing impact that some of these issues are having on the business are damaging and not sustainable.
Due to the limited availability of foreign currency, the company’s position with its foreign creditors deteriorated significantly over the year, with US$37,59 million remaining outstanding to foreign wheat suppliers at the end of the period.
“It is crucial that a solution for this debt is found in the immediate future,” chairman Mr Todd Moyo said in a statement accompanying the Group’s financial results.
“Provided that meaningful solutions to these challenges can be found, we believe that there will be significant opportunities to supply a broader range of categories as economic conditions and the position of the consumer improve further,” said Mr Moyo.