Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has urged restraint among economic players saying prevailing challenges are being exacerbated by panic and speculation, hence the need for urgent collective engagements and interventions to stabilise the economy.
The country is facing rampant price increases, a shortage of foreign currency and disruptions in power, fuel and water supplies.
CZI president Mr Sifelani Jabangwe said the country’s economy was in a position of imbalance due to distortions that needed to be attended to urgently.
He said there is a need to stabilise the exchange rate and restore the purchasing power of consumers.
“Business, therefore urges restraint among economic agents as the state of the economy is being exacerbated by panic and speculation. Business is confident in the ability of local players to stabilise the situation for as long as we work together with the required urgency to bring about a home grown solution,” said Mr Jabangwe.
The CZI president said this while addressing a meeting of Business Membership Organizations (BMOs) on Friday during a meeting to deliberate on economic challenges.
BMOs representatives from industry, agriculture, mining, banking and retail attended the meeting.
“Business in Zimbabwe acknowledges there is a need to accelerate engagement on the economic stabilisation and growth agenda as a collective effort across the different sectors so as to achieve effective coordination and implementation of interventions.
“This is from recognising that a big part of the economic challenges are co-ordinative in nature. If the current distortions are not attended to they will continue to cause further distortions and damage across all sectors of the economy,” said Mr Jabangwe.
He said Government has a major role to play in making sure that foreign currency is made available in the country.
Mr Jabangwe said Government as a policymaker and collector of a significant portion of foreign currency through surrender requirements, is a key stakeholder in resolving the foreign currency issue.
“The private sector also acknowledges the severity of the foreign currency crisis that we are in as an economy and the need for urgent interventions,” said Mr Jabangwe.
He said the pricing and availability of foreign currency is at the centre of the country’s economic challenges.
“It’s also acknowledged that the basic economic fundamentals are positive as given by the report from the Finance Minister and also the recent IMF report. The private sector recognises that the pricing and availability of foreign currency is at the centre of our economic challenges.
“It’s also acknowledged that the economy is currently generating currency that should be enough for the economy. It’s thus imperative for buyers and sellers of currency, who are both from the private sector, should come together to find urgent interventions to stabilise the situation,” said Mr Jabangwe.
A functional interbank market, he added, is central to stabilising the state of the economy.
Representatives who attended the meeting agreed on an urgent process to be implemented collectively by business, Government and labour.
“This process is expected to yield interventions to arrest the decline and stabilise the situation in the short term as it will involve all economic agents.
“It will yield an outcome which is a model that can be used to bring back balance to pricing of various commodities as well as rewarding of labour,” said Mr Jabangwe.
He said the model will also help to identify standards of disciplined behaviour that businesses need to adhere to in order to achieve economic growth and stability.
The CZI president said the model can be drawn up in a short period of time of not more than a week of dedicated work by a competent team.
He said the process would then feed into the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) process once the TNF Bill has been passed into an Act so that provisions of the TNF are binding to all parties. – @pamelashumba1
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