Economy in bad shape

Radical changes are needed to revive Zimbabwe’s economy, which is in bad shape and requires a fresh approach, says Hlanganiso Matangaidze, president of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce.

“The state of the economy is bad. Liquidity constraints continue and unemployment is prevalent. The opportunities are there but there are no resources to exploit them,” he said.

“The problems we have faced mean there are gaps waiting to be exploited. There are many indigenous people sitting on huge mining claims which they cannot do anything about because of lack of capital. We are a net importer and this means that there are opportunities in manufacturing.”

He said the government must intervene and come up with policies that ensure a change of direction. “Issues such as those to do with the tariff regime fall squarely on the government’s doorstep. Government must play a key role in resource mobilisation. We should use natural resources as leverage for mobilising liquidity,” he said. “I am calling for a paradigm shift.”

Zimbabwe’s business community should find ways to add value to their products in order to compete in a fast changing market.

“Beneficiation in the diamond industry can create 60,000 direct jobs and the ripple effect would be huge in terms of indirect jobs through retail, schools, the food industry and many others,” said Matangaidze. Government should revise its licensing fees to allow for more players in various sectors of the economy, including mining. “Charging $100,000 (in licence fees) is not workable,” he said. “What sets Zimbabwe apart is that the people are well educated. Unfortunately we are not leveraging that resource. No other African country matches our literacy rate.”

In a related development, a British economic expert says Zimbabwe should keep corruption in check and implement clear policies to achieve growth.

Jonathan Beynon, the senior economic adviser with the British Department for International Development, said openness and transparency were necessary for economic advancement. He said economies always grow when corruption was kept at minimum levels and complemented with transparently managed available resources.

“It is essential for the country to prove that it is a safe and profitable investment destination. This could be achieved through upholding of the rule of law and secure property rights, prioritisation of investment, be budgetary and fiscal responsible and assure domestic investors of stability around the banking system,” he said.

Post published in: Business

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