Man­i­ca­land busi­ness upbeat

The Manica Post - - Business News - Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Se­nior Busi­ness Reporter

MAN­I­CA­LAND in­dus­tries have po­si­tioned them­selves for a wind­fall fol­low­ing an in­flux on ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est in in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in the prov­ince from foreign and lo­cal in­vestors.

There has been grow­ing in­vest­ment in­ter­est in Zim­babwe fol­low­ing the dec­la­ra­tion by Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa that Zim­babwe is open for busi­ness.

In an in­ter­view with Post Busi­ness, ZNCC deputy pres­i­dent for Man­i­ca­land Mr Ken­neth Saruchera said there was a lot of op­ti­mism in the busi­ness com­mu­nity, which was be­gin­ning to breathe life into Man­i­ca­land busi­nesses.

“Be­cause of the poli­cies be­ing put in place by the new dis­pen­sa­tion, there has been a lot of good­will and op­ti­mism.

“Busi­nesses in Man­i­ca­land have been po­si­tion­ing them­selves for an eco­nomic boom in ex­pec­ta­tion of mas­sive in­vest­ments that might be chan­nelled into the coun­try,” he said.

“Ex­pec­ta­tions are very high es­pe­cially in Man­i­ca­land where the min­is­ter of State for Pro­vin­cial Af­fairs Mon­ica Mutsvangwa has also launched a “Man­i­ca­land is open for busi­ness” campaign.”

He said the in­dus­try still had to over­come chal­lenges that have con­tin­u­ously dogged the sec­tor for more than a decade. Ca­pac­ity util­i­sa­tion for man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­nies in Man­i­ca­land has re­mained be­low 40 per­cent for years, which has seen many man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­nies down­siz­ing or clos­ing shops al­to­gether.

“We have liq­uid­ity chal­lenges which are faced by the or­di­nary cit­i­zen. This has af­fected dis­pos­able in­comes, which means peo­ple are spend­ing less hence busi­nesses are still not mak­ing money,” said Mr Saruchera.

Oth­ers chal­lenges in­clude lack of foreign cur­rency to im­port raw ma­te­ri­als as well as short­age of gas and fuel cur­rently be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced.

“For busi­nesses in Mutare, the most press­ing chal­lenge is the clear­ance of goods at Forbes border post which is cum­ber­some and takes long be­cause of the con­ges­tion at the port of en­try. But in spite of these chal­lenges, we still have high hopes for the fu­ture,” he said.

The prov­ince is known for its tim­ber and hor­ti­cul­ture but these prod­ucts have not been able to make an im­pact on out­put or rev­enue in­flows for lo­cal busi­nesses.

The tim­ber in­dus­try has mainly been af­fected by il­le­gal set­tlers that have been caus­ing havoc in the pine and eu­ca­lyp­tus plan­ta­tions, de­stroy­ing vast swathes of tim­ber at enor­mous cost.

In­dus­try has been calling for the re­vival of the Beira Cor­ri­dor de­vel­op­ment project, which has been mov­ing at a snail’s pace since the sign­ing of a Mem­o­randa of Un­der­stand­ing be­tween Zim­babwe and Mozambique years back.

Beira is the short­est route to the sea for Zim­babwe and presents an op­por­tu­nity for Zim­babwe to de­con­gest the Beit­bridge and Dur­ban port, en­sur­ing ef­fi­cient and cost ef­fec­tive move­ment of goods.

Mr Ken­neth Saruchera

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