ED's meeting with business welcome

HARARE - President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s recent meeting with bankers as well as captains of industry and commerce is a good start.

Coming as it does after the scrapping of Statutory Instrument (SI) 122 of 2017 and the turbulence that rocked the country after the bond note suffered heavy losses on
the black market, the overdue meeting presented Mnangagwa with the opportunity to allay the fears of the restive business community.

Given the fact that local businesses are currently in a state of flummox because of the repealing of SI 122 of 2017, which effectively removed the protection local industries have enjoyed for the past couple of years, the meeting must have left the captains of industry somewhat reassured.

Mnangagwa’s commendable meeting with the business community, though, should not be an isolated incident.

It should be the beginning of many engagements with other stakeholders such as churches, students and workers. As the president rightly said at the meeting with business leaders, the majority of Zimbabweans are currently feeling very depressed about the prevailing economic situation and, as such, it is important for the head of State to continually meet the various segments of Zimbabwean society and seek their input on how the country should fight its way to economic revival.

As he has repeatedly done, Mnangagwa used the recent business meeting to call on all Zimbabweans to work together and share the pain that will characterise the journey to economic renewal.

He said: “We are taking a joint journey towards a better and secured future to build the Zimbabwe we want. The road is long, winding and sometimes bumpy but there is no other way which is the road to the middle income economy.”

But for this to happen Mr President, you need to win the buy-in of Zimbabweans across all sectors. People will willingly take in the pain if they are convinced that their suffering is indeed part of a genuine journey to economic prosperity.

Zimbabweans, both young and old, should also be convinced that the belt tightening measures that government has proposed will also affect people in leadership positions and not just ordinary people. It is now time for the government to show leadership and demonstrate that they are now in a “business unusual” mode.

The painful times that the country is in demand a government that is truly united and not one riven by factionalism. For example, there doesn’t seem to be unanimity in government on the Pre-budget Strategy Paper recently approved by Cabinet. For us to forge ahead as one, there is need for the leadership and the citizens to read from the same page.

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