Exporting companies in Bulawayo have been advised to register under the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) trade agreements for them to do business on a larger scale.
The call comes at a time when the domestic market is saddled by a myriad of challenges including the fast depreciating local currency, low buying power and other impediments to profit-making.
Addressing company representatives during a COMESA-ZimTrade Marketing and Branding for International Competitiveness (MBIC) training workshop in Bulawayo Thursday, consultant Dennis Choguya, challenged businesses to position themselves such that they benefit from trade agreements.
“If you are exporting to a COMESA country, it means you do not need complicated documents,” explained Choguya.
“You pay very little duty compared to others who are not part of COMESA. So let’s register, let’s formalise so that we allow ourselves to do business on a bigger scale.”
Choguya said considering the changes in the domestic market, it was high time Zimbabwean companies looked elsewhere to sell their products.
“Why should you punish your business forcing it to sell in a market where money is not there? He queried.
“Look for where there is a viable market. Why are you forcing your business to prosper selling here when signs are there for you to look for market elsewhere? Don’t force things that you know won’t work!”
Further said the consultant: “You are supplying a supermarket that five months down the line will not pay you. When they pay, they will still give you the same Zimbabwean dollar. If it was ZW$5, 000, they will give you ZW$5, 000 and guess what, you would have lost 80 percent of that money. The other issue is that Zimbabwe is not the biggest market. There are bigger markets.”
Choguya added that it was important for exporters to first carry out market surveys in the countries they intend to export to in order to minimise failures.