THE Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe is holding its 38th annual congress this week with the focus on how they will operate in the current Covid-19 environment, which has wreaked havoc on the economy.
The congress, which is being held virtually, is being held under the theme “Repositioning Business for the New Normal”. It is being held at a time when employment numbers are estimated to have fallen by between 20% and 30%, since the advent of the pandemic that has resulted in hundreds and thousands of fatalities globally and has claimed more than 220 lives nationally.
This pandemic has worsened the country’s ailing economy characterised by a debilitating liquidity crunch, foreign currency shortage, low capacity utilisation and runaway inflation of nearly 800%, which has decimated incomes and pensions that are denominated in the Zimbabwean dollar.
Emcoz president Israel Murefu told businessdigest that the congress, which began on Wednesday and ends today, will be looking at ways businesses operate through the pandemic and how to recover jobs which were lost as a result of the scourge and the resultant national lockdown put in place by government on March 30.
“We are looking at how businesses should be able to adapt in the new normal and in the process we expect businesses to recover,” Murefu said. “We expect that as we recover, we will increase capacity utilisation and if business recovers more people will be able to come to work.”
He, however, pointed out that the number of jobs which will be restored will be nowhere near the number of jobs lost as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The number of jobs, which will be recovered will not be at the pre-March levels and it will take a long time before those numbers are restored,” Murefu said.
“The full cycle of the pandemic is not yet known. We need a full year to see the pattern of the pandemic and how it behaves.”
The opening up of the economy, Murefu said, has helped businesses to restore lost productivity albeit at a slow pace.
He said Emcoz has invited a number of speakers from around the globe to enable the country’s business sector to learn from their experiences of operating in the Covid-19 environment.