THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has described its meeting with President Robert Mugabe last week as fruitful, despite criticism that the business delegation failed to robustly engage him on the deteriorating economy.
Zimbabwe’s economy is slipping into its worst crisis since dollarisation in 2009, with retailers who met Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, John Mangudya, last week warning of imminent foods shortages. The country is currently grappling with a foreign currency shortage and bank note shortages that have resulted in depositors failing to withdraw money from banks. As a result, the RBZ and government have encouraged the use of electronic payments.
CZI president, Sifelani Jabangwe, said the meeting was meant to show appreciation to Mugabe for his government’s positive response to requests from the business community. “This was a high level presentation of issues to His Excellency, but the main objective was to give gratitude for some of the issues that we have been working on and that had already been implemented and are yielding positive results for business. We then also left a list of issues which again we are already working on with various relevant arms of government that we felt needed to be expedited,” said Jabangwe.
“We did not expect them to be responded to in full at that meeting but His Excellency did touch on some of the key issues which were of concern to business and also issues of concern to His Excellency. His Excellency made a suggestion for regular meetings and we as business had also expressed the same wish to meet regularly.” Jabangwe said the meeting was not meant to ruffle feathers, but to acknowledge improved relations between business and government.
“The purpose of the meeting was to acknowledge and show gratitude on the improved relations with government. We realised we were communicating and co-operating well with the various arms of government and that this was due to the leader of government who is His Excellency,” said Jabangwe. The CZI president said business conditions were improving. “There are currently several such initiatives in progress like the recently completed RRI (Rapid Results Initiative) on improving ease and cost of doing business in exporting. Another ongoing activity is the RRI on improving the ease of manufacturing. These are some of the initiatives that are already in progress,” said Jabangwe.