THE political leadership in Zimbabwe should work closely with international investors to revamp the manufacturing sector through crafting strategies that spur economic growth and lead to the return of a local currency, Caledonia Mining chief executive officer, Mr Steve Curtis, has said.
The Toronto Exchange-listed Caledonia Mining concern owns 49 percent shares in Blanket Mine in Gwanda, one of the thriving enterprises in the country.
Commenting on the economic situation in the country, Mr Curtis said the adoption of the multi-currency system in 2009 was the right thing to do in stabilising the economy in light of the festering hyperinflation that Zimbabwe experienced over the years. He, however, said the model has limitations given the liquidity challenges that the country is going through.
“One of the biggest economic issues in the country is lack of foreign currency, there is a shortage and the country is trying to operate its own economy without its own currency.
“I personally believe it was the right thing to dollarize and stabilise the economy out of those hyperinflationary periods but it’s a very difficult model to grow the economy,” said Mr Curtis.
“The Zimbabwean economy needs to grow so, l guess one of the most important things that the powers that be, which come into existence, will need to put their heads together with some very clever international people and formulate the way forward,” he said.
In February 2009, the country adopted a multicurrency system that was dominated by the United States dollar to tame hyperinflation.
“I don’t think its sustainable that you can operate with somebody else’s currency in your country and l think all of us as contributors to the economy, we have to continue to work under the conditions that we have and hopefully work towards improving the situation,” said Mr Curtis.
He said the country also needs to resuscitate the manufacturing sector adding that despite the prevailing economic climate his company continues to invest in Zimbabwe.
“The fact that we (Caledonia) are investing heavily is testimony that you can still do it in a challenging environment. But for an economy that probably needs to grow in double digits, there is going to be sincerity economic and fiscal policy changes.
“I think that must take place. That is exciting, so we look forward to that. There is high level of unemployment, Zimbabweans want to work and l think, they deserve an opportunity to have a job,” said Mr Curtis.
In his inaugural speech on Friday, President Mnangagwa said the new Government among other key priorities to grow the economy would be re-engaging the international community to improve the country’s relations with the rest of the world to attract foreign direct investment.
He said Zimbabwe’s economy would be predicated on the agriculture sector as well as creating an investment-led economic recovery that rests on the employment creation premium.