HARARE – Prominent businessman Shingi Munyeza has warned the government to reduce its profligate spending and dispose underperforming State-owned enterprises in the wake of current economic challenges and worsening cash shortages.
In a strategy paper dubbed the “10-Point Plan” — which he fashioned from an entrepreneur’s perspective — Munyeza said government must immediately cut its expenditure and live within its means.
“They also need to commercialise State-owned enterprises — major retrenchment is overdue,” he said.
Munyeza’s clarion call comes after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently urged the country to implement a comprehensive economic transformation programme, which includes a reduction of government’s wage bill from the current 92 percent to less than 55 percent by 2019.
President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF-led government is struggling to service its bloated civil service wage bill due to
depleting revenue streams, high unemployment rate and massive company closures among other things.
Munyeza, currently running the local Ocean Basket and Mugg & Bean franchises, said it was also important for government to immediately enter into an understanding with business and labour to allow for economic growth.
“There is need to start rand reporting so we begin to adjust correctly to regional parity then eventually move into the Rand Union, competitiveness is key,” he said.
Munyeza also noted that the country must effectively sweat its major assets and get maximum return on investment.
“The land audit, which will result in issuance of 99-year leases make our most valuable resource, land, productive and qualify as security. There is also need to handle all breaches to Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement,” he said.
The former African Sun chief executive also highlighted the need to incentivise exporters and revisit the country’s indigenisation law, which compels all foreign-owned businesses to sell off 51 percent of their businesses to black Zimbabweans.
He added that the country must conclude balance of payment support through the present processes with IMF.
“This will ensure working capital requirements. No bond notes!” he said.
Zimbabwe, which owes $1, 8 billion in arrears to the World Bank, IMF and AfDB, has not been able to access much-needed fresh financing from the fund and last year put across an arrears clearance strategy which is considered an important step towards normalising relations with the international financial community.