ZIMBABWEANS should capitalise on the new political dispensation and seek fresh engagement with Government leadership towards reviving the country’s economy and fostering progressive development, an official said.
Speaking during a Southern Africa Informal Cross Border Traders’ (ICBTs) Conference, which ended in Bulawayo yesterday, Parliamentary Portfolio Committee Chairperson for Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services, Mr Ronald Muderedzwa, said business players, including the informal sector, should stand up and voice their interests to the new leader ship.
He said the coming in of a new political leadership led by President Mnangagwa, who was sworn into office two weeks ago, presents an opportunity for change towards addressing long-desired economic transformation.
“The new dispensation has opened a window for fresh engagement with the new President (Mnangagwa). Let us provide him with information to say we want this done and so forth. Let us capitalise on this window so that we move forward as a nation,” said Mr Muderedzwa.
“All stakeholders need to engage and common dialogue is needed to achieve improved living standards for our people.”
He acknowledged negative sentiments about the business environment in Zimbabwe and calls for reform by different stakeholders. The chair advised business associations to utilise Parliament to push their interests, which includes oversight on the executive and other public entities.
He said the informal sector in particular, deserved audience with Government as they are a major economic player and yet continue to be side-lined at policy and institutional levels.
During the meeting informal cross border traders drawn from different countries in Sadc, accused governments of neglecting them as some accused state entities of harassment.
The informal traders said the tax regime in the region was harsh for their operations. They said they were not guaranteed of security at borders where they are exposed to robbery, corruption and harassment by officials and molestation of female traders.
“If you have all these concerns, organise yourselves and petition Parliament, which will investigate these and take appropriate action.
“This is one way of addressing your issues. Informal traders should not be harassed or molested. The police, immigration departments and others also need to reform in compliance with the new dispensation and improve public service,” said Mr Muderedzwa.
He said his committee has begun engagement with relevant authorities to facilitate opening of more entry and exit points on the border for smooth movement of informal cross border traders.
“We are saying why not establish informal cross border exit and entry points as part of the new dispensation. Zimra levies are also part of the discussion and we are keen to see your issues addressed.
“What is important is for you to come forward. If we work together we are going to improve our economy and move forward,” said Mr Muderedzwa.