‘Maintain investor friendly policies’




Busisa-Moyo

POLICYMAKERS should continue to craft investor-friendly policies this year for the public and private sector to maintain their growth momentum, captains of industry have said.

Zimbabwe’s economy is currently riding the wave of a strong growth trajectory driven by the bumper harvest last year, strong global metal prices and massive infrastructure development programmes.

The economy is projected to have grown by 7,8 percent in 2021.

Last week, the World Bank revised its forecast upwards to 5,1 percent.

Similarly, the International Monetary Fund expects strong growth in the same period.

Industry insists that policy consistency will create a conducive operating environment.

Most companies were affected by delayed allocations from the foreign currency auction system last year.

For instance, the retail and distribution sector claims it only accessed 8 percent of the total allotments from the weekly auction, which has greatly assisted other key sectors.

Limited access to rightly priced foreign currency from the auction, captains of industry argue, saw some traders who get auction funds illegally increasing prices of United States dollar-denominated products and services.

CEO Africa roundtable chairperson Mr Oswell Binha said policymakers should try to come up with policies that facilitate the “Zimbabwe open for business agenda”.

“As the economy takes off in 2022, we urge policymakers to ensure that economic policies are investor-friendly and promote an environment for public and private sector businesses to thrive,” he said.

Mr Binha added that he envisioned an economically advanced Zimbabwe where public and private sector leaders were recognised as a dynamic force in the global arena.

United Refineries chief executive officer Mr Busisa Moyo said there was need for stability on the currency front.

He exhorted authorities to devise mechanisms that would result in a single reference exchange rate, as part of interventions to curb the widening disparity between the official exchange rate
and the parallel market forex exchange rates.

“We expect an intentional resumption of the work of improving the competitiveness of the economy to rectify distortions in the macroeconomic environment.

“A single formal reference exchange rate for pricing, wages, incomes and investment returns is the most critical issue that needs sorting out in 2022.

“That exchange rate must be supported by a functional framework that is supported by banks, exporters, importers and regulatory authorities,” said Mr Moyo.

The Government, he added, needs to localise value chains across all critical sectors such as agriculture, mining and manufacturing.

“We expect meaningful import substitution incentives for localisation of value chains, domestication of raw materials and inputs for the agricultural, manufacturing, mining and tourism industries under a comprehensive plan.”

Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube is trying to extend incentives to local industry to drive domestication of value chains while diversifying the export revenue basket.

Source: Sunday Mail