‘Don’t blame inflation for failure’

Patrick Chitumba Midlands Bureau Chief
Businesspeople should not blame inflation or economic challenges for the failure of their business, but should rather use the resources at their disposal to beat inflation and grow their business, a mining expert has said.

Addressing academics and members of the corporate world during the Midlands Agricultural Show breakfast meeting in Gweru last week, guest of honour and Unki Mine general manager Mr Walter Nemasase said even Government parastatals should stop blaming their losses on inflation.

“You can try to blame inflation, but if you use the available resources at your disposal you will make it,” he said.

“As a businessman, as a manager or entrepreneur it is unacceptable to come up with a plan and say I will make a loss (because of inflation or some challenges) and still expect to pay salaries or receive a salary.

“The reality is that you must make your budget work and not present a negative budget.”

Mr Nemasase said in 2014, the price of platinum went down drastically, a development that could have led to the shutdown of Unki Mine.

“So, we went to our boss to show him our budget and it was a loss making budget,” he said. “Our boss asked us to write resignation letters saying it was not acceptable for us to present a loss-making plan.

“I know it is a strange thing to a lot of bosses in the parastatals in this country, but they must make things work and if they can’t they must leave.”

Mr Nemasase said the destiny of Unki Mine was placed in the hands of the employees themselves.

“Unki Mine is a big investment for Zimbabwe, but it is less than one percent of Anglo American and for that reason they can shut us down if we make losses and it won’t feel a thing,” he said.

“So, our survival completely rests with the people who are managing it and the same is very possible with parastatals and other private businesses.”

“Unki Mine is a $600 million investment to date and its success came after a lot of sacrifices.

“We started spending money on machines which facilitate production and we used containers as offices. Others complained why we were doing that, but we had to grow the business.

“What is the use of showing off to the public if we are not protecting the interests of the business?”

Last month Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) said better efficiencies and higher recoveries in the first half of the year resulted in record platinum output at Unki Mine.

In its latest production report for the first half of 2019, Amplats said while costs for the business were rising, Unki Mine had managed to restrain its own costs.

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