By Ishemunyoro Chingwere
President Mnangagwa has called on the business community to strike a balance between the case for profit and national interest in light of the price increases that have besieged the economy.
The President made the remarks at the fourth edition of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) annual business review conference in Harare yesterday which ran under the theme: “Enterprise Development, Corporate Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Growth.”
The conference comes at a time when Government is working to resuscitate and develop the economy to upper middle income earning status by 2030 through private sector-led growth.
Government has been, in the meantime, crafting business-friendly policies anchored on the President’s “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” call but of late the efforts have run into problems after most businesses hiked prices of goods and services.
“I urge stakeholders to continue the good relationship that has been established,” said the President while delivering his key-note address at the conference, “I further call on business to strike a proper balance between their business and national interests.”
The country’s year on year inflation rate, according to Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT), rose to 20, 85 percent year-on-year largely due to rising prices of basic commodities among them cooking oil, sugar and flour. Business has sited the unavailability of foreign currency as the major cost driver as they are now being forced to go to the parallel market where rates are much higher.
The President also underscored the importance of the private sector in the quest for economic revival and the attainment of Vision 2030.
“You in the private sector are key partners in our quest to become an Upper Middle Income Economy by 2030. The theme of this conference . . . is in sync with the ongoing modernisation and industrialisation agenda. It further resonates with the comprehensive reform measures that my Government has put in place to resuscitate the economy,” said the President. Speaking at the same event, ZNCC president Tamuka Macheka said the blocks on which the economy is currently stumbling on are a sign that there is some movement happening.
Mr Macheka said the success of the revival quest hinges on how stakeholders respond to the current challenges and dialogue between business and Government is one such positive response.
“I must mention at this point ladies and gentleman that it is only the one who is walking or running who can stumble, but those that are seated, will never stumble,” said Mr Macheka.
“So if we stumble, it means we are walking, and the important thing for us to go back on the journey is to rise up and keep on walking,” he said.