THE business sector is set to meet both President Emmerson Mnangagwa and MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa separately later this month to establish how they intend to address the structural bottlenecks affecting industry should they win the July 30 elections, businessdigest has learnt.
By Kudzai Kuwaza
The meetings, to be held on June 27 and 28 in Harare, come at a time business is hampered by a deepening economic crisis characterised by a debilitating liquidity crunch, a severe cash shortage, capacity utilisation of less than 50%, a widening trade deficit, company closures and substantive job losses.
Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) executive director John Mufukare told businessdigest this week that industry has invited the two presidential candidates to share their plans to resuscitate business.
“We are going to have meetings with President Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa to interrogate their policies,” Mufukare said.
“We will first meet President Mnangagwa on 27 June and then we will meet Chamisa on the 28th of June. These meetings will help give us a clearer understanding of how they intend to tackle the challenges we face as business which include the cash shortage and the liquidity crisis.”
Last week, Chamisa pledged that, should he win, his government would grow Zimbabwe’s fragile economy at a blistering pace of 10% annually to US$46 billion by 2026, before peaking at US$100 billion in 2029.
Mnangagwa has pledged, should he win, to achieve economic growth rate of 6%, US$5 billion annual foreign direct investment inflow and US$10 billion of domestic investments, increasing capacity utilisation to 90% and eradication of corruption towards transforming Zimbabwe into a middle income country by 2030.
Meanwhile, Emcoz president Matthew Chimbghandah told employers at the recent annual general meeting of the International Organisation of Employers in Switzerland that the Zimbabwean government has not matched its rhetoric with action.
“The excellent rhetoric by the government has not been matched by action on the ground. The result is a credibility gap which has seen business partners adopting a wait-and-see attitude,” Chimbghandah, who presented a paper on Maintaining the Voice of Business During Periods of Political Transition, told employers.
He pointed out that there is still a propensity for arbitrary action by the government which might tend to unnerve business partners.
The Emcoz president also expressed concern over the lack of social dialogue in Mnangagwa’s so-called new political dispensation.
Chimbghandah however also pointed out that there have been positives which include interactions between business and Mnangagwa and a marked relaxation of the previous authoritarian dispensation replaced by what he called “a new air of political freedom in the land.”
“Emcoz sincerely believes that in periods of political transition, the voice of business should speak truth to power in a non-partisan manner,” he said.