Industry must be honest with govt

HARARE - Today the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) holds its annual general meeting in the capital and the industry mother-body must use this platform to conjure solutions to halt economic meltdown in the country.

For a long time now, industry has been failing to be honest with government — perhaps fearing retribution as what happened in 2007 with the price slashes, yet they are the ones who are always on the receiving end of bad policies.

It’s not always the case that industry must toe the government line but must be pragmatic, brutally honest and rational about economic policies that affect the generality of the population.

The case in point is the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset) economic blueprint.

Since its official launch last year, the ambitious policy has failed to excite the market and up to date government has failed to secure a dime of the required $27 billion to fund ZimAsset.

Economic experts and market analysts have described it as a pie in the sky and we have constantly said it government must climb down from its lofty perch and be on the ground with the people to be able to understand solutions needed in the country.

Since the outcome of the elections last year, a lot of companies have closed down and more are expected to fold this year due to the harsh economic environment prevalent in the country.

What is even more baffling is that government has done nothing to halt the de-industrialisation taking place.

From the look of things, it seems government is content on promoting the influx of cheap commodities into the economy at the expense of protecting local industry. It’s not only true but very embarrassing that the same government that is failing to expand its revenue base has presided over the collapse of industry.

If our local industry was fully functional at optimum manufacturing capacity, employing thousands of people and exporting its products then government would have been assured of constant corporate and other types of taxes to sustain its operations.

With our trade deficit breaching the $4 billion mark in February, it is no wonder there is an acute liquidity crunch in the economy. 

Government must be implementing policies that promote self-sufficiency and limiting the importation of luxury goods so that money keeps circulating in the country.

Majority of Zimbabweans are suffering and the economic situation is deteriorating by the day and any talk of deflation being able to self-correct prices is a fallacy.

Economies do not work on hope, they require comprehensive action. It’s time we have leaders who can call a spade a spade and urge government to adopt new policies that can grow the economy.

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