By Amanda E Jojo
THE Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) has called for combined efforts in addressing macroeconomic fundamentals so as to ensure a smooth business year in 2022.
The local business sector maintains optimism that in 2022, the Government will maintain fiscal and monetary policy discipline to attain macroeconomic stability.
In an exclusive with The Entrepreneurial Magazine, Chairman of the Harare Branch of the ZNCC, Tapiwa Karoro said in 2022, the Government in partnership with the private sector need to come up with a lasting solution to Zimbabwe’s currency woes and building confidence in the local currency need not be overemphasized.
“2022 is a year where we expect business development to significantly start to take-off across all sectors, and all the rules and regulations that are impeding on the development of the business community are expected to be modified and repealed.
“The operating environment has been harsh for the previous couple of years and through our continued engagement with the policymakers, we have realised significant milestones towards a conducive operating environment,” Karoro said.
According to African Development Bank (AfDB) Southern Africa is set for an economic rebound in 2022 provided the COVID-19 tapers off. The pandemic will be a deciding factor in the region’s economic fortunes.
“From the first wave in March 2020 to the third wave at the beginning of 2021, leaving a trail of human and economic destruction, the Covid-19 pandemic moves on with a much-feared fourth wave beckoning.
“However, the pandemic remains a threat to the positive outlook for 2022 and the COVID-19 is expected to remain with us for the foreseeable future.
“As ZNCC, we strongly commend the resilient nature of Zimbabwean businesses and we hope that businesses will keep the momentum gathered within the third and fourth quarters of 2021 as we enter the new year,” Karoro remarked.
He stressed that even though the magnitude of the socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 on Zimbabwe cannot be overemphasised, the operating environment has been harsh for the previous couple of years.
In a bid to address the economic malaise, the business interest lobby has been engaging with policymakers, and has realised significant milestones towards a conducive operating environment.
“The establishment of the National Competitiveness Commission (NCC) and Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) has seen notable progress in addressing issues to do with the ease of doing business. Capacitation of these institutions through the 2022 National Budget is a positive sign that the Government is willing and able to attend to industry’s needs.
“However, there are several issues which still need significant attention and we expect our government to seriously consider these business concerns. These include issues to do with paying taxes, trading across borders, currency issues, resolving insolvency, getting credit and dealing with construction permits,” Karoro echoed.
ZNCC is set to ink a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission on fighting corruption in Zimbabwe. The MOU which is now in the finalisation is a collaborative approach set reduce corruption which is cancerous to economic growth.
“Corruption has been and is still a pandemic in Zimbabwe alongside COVID-19 both in the private sector and the public sector. ZNCC has seen it critical to engage with the Commission to tackle the corruption scourge, hence the initiative to have an MOU with ZACC.
“We strive to motivate good business practices through hard and honest work, and enhance good corporate governance practices in the private sector.
“Business contracts should be obtained on a competitive, transparent and fair basis, corruption has been dragging business development in Zimbabwe and as one of our mandates, we seek to vigorously deal with all the impediments to business growth” he indicated.
Starting this year, ZNCC is set to continuously engage with the Parliament of Zimbabwe for the implementation of its resolutions by actively participate in lawmaking to enhance business development.
In a drive to ensure transparency in the Foreign Exchange Auction System, Karoro said ZNCC is going to have regular briefings with the RBZ Governor on progress checks regarding the Auction.
Meanwhile, ZNCC has implored for the national budget and economic recovery packages to be inclusive and include businesses’ contributions in all various angles.
“Government is working with the private sector to establish a clear qualification matrix regarding the beneficiaries of the economic recovery packages and a tracking system to be established to ensure that the disbursed public funds reach the intended targets,” he explained.
The Chamber will undertake joint initiatives with the Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI), ZNCC and ZACCI to co-operate with each other in the business and economic development agenda of their respective countries.
In that regard, ZNCC continues to represent the interest of its members and stands firm as the leading channel of communication between business and the Government.
He added that: “Business should utilize this channel of communication to air out their concerns to the policymakers through participating in ZNCC events, surveys and forums spearheaded to enhance business development.
“In keeping with our belief that we should not only identify challenges, but also proffer practical solutions, we have developed a strong relationship with the Government and they have taken great consideration of our policy proposals which come after in-depth consultation with our members.” “By participating in ZNCC initiatives, a business is guaranteed that its voice will be heard by the people that matter as they are always present at such forums with a listening ear,” he reaffirmed.