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New boss takes over reins at CZI

Godfrey Marawanyika

THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has finally appointed a substantive chief executive officer, Joseph Malaba.

sans-serif”>Malaba takes over from Farai Zizhou who has been acting CEO since 2002 following the departure of Malvern Rusike.

Before joining the industry representative body, Malaba was operating a consultancy firm.

The appointment of Malaba will see Zizhou reverting to his former post as the organisation’s chief economist.

Malaba on Tuesday refused to comment and referred all inquires to the organisation’s president Pattison Sithole.

High on the list of challenges for Malaba will be to make sure that the CZI’s affiliates can readily access foreign currency on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s auction floor.

The auction system was introduced by the central bank on January 12 last year on the recommendations of industrialists.

Zimbabwe has been in the grip of a foreign currency crunch since 2000 after the International Monetary Fund stopped giving the country balance of payment support. This also coincided with a serious decline in foreign currency earnings.

Malaba will also try to work for consensus between labour and the industrial body during the collective bargaining period to see if pay increments can be performance-related as advocated by the CZI.

Last week the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions said it would demand a minimum wage of at least $2 million.

Sithole this week confirmed that Malaba had taken over the reins at the helm of the CZI.

“We can confirm that Malaba was appointed as the chief executive with effect from March 1,” he said.

“Zizhou will now become the chief economist for the organisation, where he will work hand-in-hand with Malaba for the good of the organisation and its membership.”

Sithole added that a formal announcement will be made soon.

Industrialists have been lobbying the central bank to relax the foreign currency auction system to enhance exporter viability and generate greater inflows.

The industrialists have proposed three options — the quick convergence, gradual convergence and additional incentives.

Under the quick convergence scheme which was adopted, industrialists wanted the elimination of the fixed exchange rate of $824 against the US dollar and its replacement with a free auction.

The central bank however rejected a free auction system. The suggested gradual convergence would have led to the liberalisation of the Tuesday auction which will become the free auction.

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