Business leaders optimistic after ED victory

BUSINESS leaders have expressed optimism that the incoming Government to be formed by President Mnangagwa, would expedite implementation of policies that promote economic growth and raise the living standards of the citizens.

President Mnangagwa of Zanu-PF garnered 2 460 463 votes, outwitting his main rival Mr Nelson Chamisa of MDC Alliance who amassed 2 147 436 votes.

The election result means  President Mnangagwa won 50,8 percent of the total votes while Mr Chamisa had 44,3 percent, according to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. The outcome satisfied the Constitutional requirement of 50 percent plus one vote for the President to avoid a run-off.

In separate interviews, business organisations said now was the time for the incoming leadership to scale up economic turnaround programmes.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Mr Sifelani Jabangwe said: “Now that the elections have been held, it is time to implement policies that will revive the economy and the implementation must be done meticulously so that we don’t lose a lot of time.

“The vision that has been enunciated by the President after coming into power under a new political administration following the resignation of Mr Mugabe to make Zimbabwe a middle income economy by 2030 must now be the guiding vision that we all embrace as a country because it gives us objectives that we need to follow.

“We need to unpack the objectives and make a plan as to how do we now play our role in fulfilling the vision because that vision helps us meet our economic growth objectives.”

Mr Jabangwe said for Zimbabwe to achieve a middle income economy status by 2030, the economy needs to grow by an average of 10 percent per annum.

By becoming a middle income economy, it means every working class citizen in the country should earn an average salary of $3 500 to improve the present quality of life. To achieve this, Mr Jabangwe said both the new Government and the private sector need to identify industries with a potential to reviving the economy by raising Zimbabwe’s income per capita.

“As CZI and other technocrats, we are actually working on an industrialisation framework, which we would like to pose to Government hopefully in the next few weeks.

“There is need to identify by region what we call new catalytic companies (firms with backward linkages) with the country focusing its resources on such companies to stimulate industrialisation through offering incentives to attract foreign direct investment in different economic sectors.”

President Mnangagwa has pledged that under his administration, “Zimbabwe is open for business” and the country was moving towards restoring investor confidence through engagements with the international community to thaw the relations and attract the much-needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Association for Business in Zimbabwe chief executive officer Mr Victor Nyoni said after the harmonised plebiscite, it was imperative for the newly elected Government to hit the ground running in order to rebuild the economy.

“I am aware that after taking over from Mr Mugabe in November last year, he (Mnangagwa) was already working on the economy and his whole campaign before the elections was about the economy.

“And we knew as businesspeople that the person who is going to speak to the narrative of reviving the economy is likely to win the election because the biggest challenge facing the country is that the economy is not functioning well,” he said.

Mr Nyoni said the business community would want to quickly see a situation where Zimbabwe was able to obtain foreign currency, restore investor confidence as well as restoring relations with the rest of the world to attract FDI.

“We would want to urge politicians to understand that this is no longer a time for politicking and now let’s all focus on rebuilding the economy through implementing investor friendly policies.

“It is also important for the political players to walk the talk around all the promises that the country has recently given to investors that Zimbabwe is peaceful and respects the rule of law and property rights,” he said.

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce chairperson for Matabeleland region Mr Godwin Muoni said it was important at this juncture for Zimbabweans from all walks of life to embrace each other and work together for the betterment of the nation’s future.

“Whatever political differences we might have as Zimbabweans, we must put Zimbabwe first than the political affiliation element. Remember all of us will depart, but Zimbabwe will remain so we should be asking ourselves, are we going to leave it as Zimbabwe ruins or what?

“What needs to be done now is to focus on reconstructing the economy because the fight has been done in the political arena. The coming in of foreign direct investment into the country is going to be determined by the political stability in the post election period,” he said.

Mr Muoni said business needs to see political stability prevailing in the country in order to attract FDI.

“If the political stability continues while also embracing the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra, we hope to see much of investors coming in,” he said.

Following the re-engagement with the international community that President Mnangagwa’s administration has done in the past eight months, Zimbabwe has attracted over $16 billion worth of investment pledges. – Chronicle