The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNNC) has called upon the government to create a stable economic environment that enables companies to plan and focus on the future.
The business community in the country has in the past accused the government of policy inconsistencies making it difficult for them to plan.
Speaking during a business seminar with Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, last Friday, ZNCC vice president responsible for Matabeleland, Golden Muoni, said it was high time the government stabilised the economic environment to enable companies to thrive.
“As the private sector we need an economy which is stable where we are able to plan and focus for long term and short to medium term,” Muoni told Prof Ncube.
“But this is not happening. We are in a state where you do not know about tomorrow.”
Referring to a recent Statutory Instrument (SI) 185 compelling businesses to adopt dual pricing (local and foreign currency), Muoni asked if the government would not later backtrack as was the case in June last year when the multicurrency regime was outlawed overnight.
“Are we backing the multicurrency regime, because it is not clear? Right now as we are sitting we have received an SI which talks about dual pricing, bond note, rand and the US Dollar,” he queried.
“What is the future of SIs because we have been operating with SIs for quite some time now where each and every day or every month we are guaranteed or getting one or two SIs which talk different things altogether.”
The ZNCC vice president said the government should be clear whether the local currency would continue to be used.
“What is the future of the Zim dollar? Are we going to use the Zim dollar, are we going to use the rand or the US dollar because the purpose of this workshop is bordering around currency which has been one of the biggest problems for the past 20 years,” he said.
“From the year 2000 we started having currency issues, land reform and many other problems which we have made it difficult to plan and focus.”
Muoni went on to complain about Zimbabwe’s expensive fuel.
“Why are our prices of fuel expensive? Is it the sugar which you are putting into our diesel or petrol, which makes it more expensive in comparison with regional prices? For diesel we are 39 percent more expensive in the region. For petrol, we are 47 percent more expensive and why are we expensive when all of us we are importing the same diesel and petrol in the region?”
In his response, Ncube, who defended SIs said the government was trying its best to make the economy work again.
“An SI is a legal instrument to support a policy; it is not a policy itself,” he argued.
“There is nothing wrong with having SIs. I also want to say that when you are reforming an economy it is very typical to fine-tune policy time and again.”