'Zim economic revival possible'

HARARE - In this week’s instalment of Women on Top — a new column that celebrates women in top positions — our deputy business editor Ndakaziva Majaka caught up with State fixed phone operator TelOne’s managing director and seasoned manager, Chipo Mtasa.

Mtasa attended Goromonzi High School before proceeding to the University of Zimbabwe where she studied for a Bachelor of Accountancy (Hons). She is a Chartered Accountant by profession.

She once worked at the Rainbow Tourism Group first as finance director for the then Sheraton Hotel, then group finance director before becoming the chief executive for eight years. She resigned in March 2012.

She was then appointed managing director of TelOne in January 2013, taking over from Hampton Mhlanga. Mtasa also served as the president of the Zimbabwe Council of Tourism between 2006 and 2008. Below are excerpts of the interview.

Q: What are you presently reading?

A: I have two books that I am currently reading. One is called The Art of War by Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu and another one called Thrive by Ariana Huffington.

Q: As one of Zimbabwe’s very few women executives, what would you say is the main challenge you face in trying to discharge your mandate at work?

A: Well, it is not so much an issue of being a woman and we really need to get out of the mind-set of just thinking people just face challenges because they are women. I think one of the things that one should always have the ability to say is that you can do it regardless of circumstances.

The challenges are the usual business challenges that anybody is facing currently. These involve the economy in terms of liquidity, the economy in terms of just being able to generate the necessary business levels. I think that is a key challenge that we are facing at the moment.

Q: It is interesting that you mentioned the economy because you have been in the corporate world for over 20 years and have pretty much seen it all. Do you feel that Zimbabwe will ever emerge out of the economic black-hole that she is in presently?

A: The fact that I am here shows that I am very optimistic that it will happen. One day, it will happen. There is just need for consensus on what needs to be happening and for everybody to work in the same direction. But just listening to what the ministry of Finance has been saying and what the World Bank has inputed in recommending policy ideas for government, you can see that it is possible for the country to have economic revival.

Even the Local Government minister came through with very big things in terms of general improvement in service delivery in the country. I also attest to that, reporting to our won minister of ICT. You can feel the energy and the move that things need to change; you can also feel that economic revival is not far. I think that those are things that will make us better as an economy.

Q: As a businesswoman, I can imagine that you have your own ventures running separately, apart from your duties at TelOne, what are the extra ventures that you are running?

A:  I have got a small lodge in Masvingo, lodge at the Ancient City. I run that and my husband and I have a farm. We are doing a bit of farming on the side.

Q: In terms of investments, do you have an investment in the past that you wish you had undertaken but did not?

A: I think I should have invested more into properties given the funding that was available back then. I look at some projects these days and always say, “Ah! I should have invested in that area, it is shaping up nicely.”

That I think I should have done more with the funding that was available in the banking sector. The situation back in the day was a bit different from what it is like now. I will tell you for a fact that as much as the property sector is now subdued, it would have been a nice investment portfolio.

Q: And what is the investment that you are most proud of?

A: I would have to say the investment that I am most proud of is educating my children.

Q: Talking of children, how many do you have? Any grandchildren?

A: Well, from my adopted son, yes, I have got a grandchild, her name is Samantha. Yes, I also have three of my own biological children but I also have two other sons that we adopted. So, the eldest is married and has just had a daughter.

Q: In terms of local musicians, which one would you say is your favourite?

A: That is a difficult one; there are so many excellent musicians in Zimbabwe. We are a country rich with talent. But, the thing is, I always hear the beats but obviously, Jah Prayzah is a good one for all of us.

Everybody dances to Jah Prayzah. I also occasionally dance to his music, so I also like him and then there are the gospel musicians, I love them. They do amazing work. I love what they have managed to do, spreading the message of love and hope through their work. Particularly, there is this local group called ZimPraise, I really like what they do. I also like Shingisai Siluma, she has a great voice and is an excellent worshiper. Her music really touches me and she always manages to uplift my spirit through her work.

Q: Talking of gospel, do you go to church? And if so, which church do you attend?

A: I am a born again Christian and yes, I do go to church. I attend AFM.

Q: Lastly, as you may now, women are usually defined by their scents. So, do you wear perfume? And if so, which scent is your favourite?

A: I can’t tell you, but yes, I do and I am a very traditional person. I totally agree with what you said, but for today I will choose to say perfume is like a woman’s age, it is her closely guarded secret and part of her mystery.

 

Comments (1)

TelOne the state telephone operator is a total failure- even a monopoly like this one cannot make a profit - run by buffoons who steal all the assets. And that has been going on for decades

biggus - 25 June 2017

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