By Alois Vinga
The government should stop interfering with business or risk worsening the country’s economic crisis, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) has warned.
With his ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’ mantra, President Emmerson Mnangagwa had given industry hope that relations would improve between the private sector and government.
However, as the economic meltdown has worsened, the government has resorted to accusing businesses of sabotage and political mischief.
The administration has pressured companies stop pricing products and services in foreign currencies and, in some instances, blocked price hikes altogether.
However, addressing a recent retailers breakfast meeting in Harare, ZNCC chief executive Chris Mugaga condemned what he described as undue government interference in business.
“The government hand is just too much. There is no economy which has grown without room for enterprise. The government hand is just everywhere,” he said.
“Liberalise! Honestly, what sense is there in setting up a foreign currency allocation committee when you do not have the forex? You can’t control what you don’t have.
“That’s the government hand we are talking about; the committees are just getting too much. After this forex committee, the next thing you have sub-committees; one for fuel another, for health – it’s too much.”
The ZNCC boss said that time had come to be open and find lasting solutions.
“This is just the time for the private sector and business organisations to start advising government currently, but it appears that some players have also been captured,” Mugaga lamented.
Other business leaders who participated at the function questioned the rationale behind sending Vice President Constantine Chiwenga to negotiate price reductions.
“This doesn’t work,” said one participant.
“Business needs a conducive environment to operate in and the moment such officials become a part of the discussions then participants tend to lose their freedom.”
source: new zimbabwe