THE Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) has dismissed claims that this yearâ€™s trade showcase could be cancelled due to reduced exhibitor interest and the slow take-up of space at the exhibition park.
Speculation was that this yearâ€™s edition of the ZITF, to be held under the theme â€œGolden Platform for Dynamic Take-offâ€, would not take place after industrialists complained that exhibition tariffs were prohibitive while most companies in the country cited the prevailing economic situation as a deterrent for participating at the international trade showcase.
The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) a fortnight ago wrote to ZITF complaining about the high tariffs and the fair managers responded by reducing the charges.
ZITF general manager Daniel Chigaru this week said the fair would not be cancelled.
â€œThere has been speculation that this yearâ€™s ZITF could be postponed but take note, the exhibition will be held as scheduled,â€ Chigaru said.
He said confirmations for the trade exhibition have been slow due to the prevailing economic situation.
The ZITF has in the last five years struggled to attract local and foreign exhibitors due to the avoidance of the country by the international community.
Western countries have stayed away from the trade exhibition and only a few African and Asian countries have graced previous editions of the show. Â
The ZITF at the beginning of the year announced that companies pay US$80 for a square metre of exhibition space.
However, the fees were reduced to US$40 a square metre after resistance from companies and the intervention of the new Minister of Industry and Commerce, Professor Welshman Ncube.
On Monday, the ZITF after noticing resistance from companies announced a further cut that will see companies pay US$25 per square metre.
Chigaru said the charges were reduced in consultation with stakeholders, service providers as well as the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
The 50th edition of the ZITF runs from April 28 to May 2.
ZITF has been the shop-window for Zimbabwe for years but had fizzled out because of economic hardships.
Last year, the fair was attended by 565 local and international exhibitors.
Only seven foreign nations â€” Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia – were represented at the fair. â€“â€“ Staff writer.