Prosper Ndlovu, Business Editor
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has implored all economic actors to be disciplined in their business dealings and castigated those involved in acts of economic sabotage, which threaten to detail the development gains being championed by the New Dispensation.
He expressed concern over unethical business practices that continue to frustrate economic progress at a time when Government is making strides towards transforming the country’s economy in line with Vision 2030.
The President’s sentiments come on the back of public outcry over the spate of price increases by businesses that are benefitting from cheap foreign currency sourced from the official auction system .
Recently the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) embarked on a blitz targeting illegal foreign currency traders and unregistered transfer agents who stand accused of fuelling exchange rate volatility, which is blamed for eroding consumer purchasing power.
Officially opening the 62nd Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo, President Mnangagwa urged all Zimbabweans to be patriotic and to work collectively towards achieving Vision 2030 that seeks to transform Zimbabwe into an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
“I call upon all economic sectors to exercise great discipline in their business dealings. We must act with greater cohesion and unity of purpose,” he said.
“Business cannot purport to support Government by day and sabotage it by night, and thereafter, play victim. It is imperative for us all to make strategic choices in the best interests of our country.
“The overall economic competitiveness of our country remains the duty of all of us as Government, industry and consumers.
“Collectively, through hard honest work and ethical business practices, let us advance the goal of achieving Vision 2030.”
Despite the external shocks induced by Covid-19 and geo-political complications such as the Russia-Ukraine war, President Mnangagwa said his administration has come up with measures to cushion the domestic economy.
In particular, he said the Second Republic’s engagement and re-engagement policy was bearing positive impact on the economy with more prospects ahead.
“The looming realisation of our country’s Vision 2030 demands that we holistically re-invent and re-imagine the trade and investment trajectory of our country, going into the future,” said President Mnangagwa.
He implored businesses to come up with innovative solutions to reduce risk exposure, trim operating costs and improve efficiencies and overall competitiveness.
“Products and services of industry must continuously address the needs of our people and economy,” said Cde Mnangagwa.
In line with the 2022 ZITF theme: “Re-think, Re-invent, Re-imagine Value Chains for Economic Development”, the President called for reinforcement of the relationship between agriculture, which is the backbone of the country’s economy and the manufacturing industry.
“Industry must promote agriculture and vice versa. I challenge stakeholders to develop, adopt and implement responsive and complementary strategies for both industry and agriculture,” he said.
“I also urge industry and commerce to reap benefits from the opportunities, which exist under bilateral, regional and multi-lateral trading arrangements within Sadc, Comesa and the African Free Trade Area.”
The President also said Government will continue to maintain the intricate balance between development and protection of the natural environment hence the renewed drive towards green investments.
To that end, he said the promotion of renewable energy development and other eco-friendly enterprises remain a top priority.
“I encourage our companies to deliberately adopt contemporary production processes that also protect the environment towards lowering our environmental footprint,” he said, adding that more companies should participate in the monthly clean-up programme including beautifying their premises.
Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa led the large gathering that witnessed yesterday’s event to observe a moment of silence in honour of the late Kenyan former president, Mwai Kibaki, who died last week.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was scheduled to officially open the ZITF but could not make it following the death of former president Kibaki.