Recovery a long way off – Zireva

Eric Chiriga

ALTHOUGH institutions such as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and other key economic players are expecting that the economy will recover this year, OK Zimbabwe Ltd chief executive officer Wil

lard Zireva thinks otherwise.


“The economy is far from stabilising. We are still at the correcting stage,” Zireva said.


He said even the RBZ does not believe there is full recovery yet.

Zireva said chances were high that more products could be included under the price controls as a campaign gimmick by government.


“We believe that price controls may be reintroduced by the government as a campaign gimmick in the forthcoming election,” he said.


Government has of late been engaging and disengaging price controls in a bid to cushion consumers from inflation and retailers accused of profiteering.


Retailers protested against the price controls saying the prices set by government were not reflective of the adverse economic environment particularly high inflation and did not cover the costs of producing the goods.


However, Zireva said the removal of the price controls resulted in sharp price increases.


“The removal of price controls resulted in consumer resistance in the last quarter of 2003,” Zireva said.


In their results for the year ended March 31, OK had a turnover of $320,9 billion as compared to $47,7 billion last year.


The group experienced sales growth above average inflation for the period but Zireva said they had missed their November and December targets.


In November last year, OK disposed of its furniture business to Furniture Paradise and it now focuses on its core business of retailing.


The furniture business was successfully sold for $10 billion.


The company still operates within OK stores and is paying rent-based turnover.


Zireva also heads the Retailers Association of Zimbabwe.

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