Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube

Industrialists itching to engage Ncube

ALL roads lead to the Daily News and the Finance and Economic Development ministry’s Business Breakfast Forum slated for Thursday morning at Monomotapa Hotel in Harare, where leaders of industry and commerce are itching to share their experiences with Mthuli Ncube — the head of Treasury.

Giving an update on the event, the Daily News commercial director Lewis Chikurunhe, pictured, said the organisers of the Business Breakfast Forum have had to expand the list of discussants to give officials from the Finance ministry an opportunity to hear insights from industrialists, who are a vital cog in the workings of the country’s economy.

As a result, the panellists for the Business Breakfast Forum now include Econet Wireless of Zimbabwe Chief Executive Officer Douglas Mboweni; PPC Zimbabwe Managing Director Kelibone Masiyna; Canada Malunga of Masimba Construction, Jimmy Psillos of Crystal Candy and Phil Mushosho of OK Zimbabwe Limited.

It is being hoped that the additions will add perspectives from the practitioners’ and compliment feedback from leaders of Business Member Organisation (BMOs) who shall be giving a helicopter view of issues affecting their members.

Representing the BMOs on the panel is Sekai Kuvarika from the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries; Chris Mugaga from the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce; Isaac Kwesu from the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe and Denford Mutashu of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers.

To be held under the theme “Reinforcing sustainable economic recovery and resilience in a period of VUCA”, the event is meant to give Ncube an opportunity to share his perspectives on domestic, regional and international developments which are impacting on business with captains of industry and commerce.

By convening the event, the Finance ministry is acknowledging that in spite of the several headwinds the country’s economy is facing, the government and stakeholders need to continuously put their heads together in search of solutions.

Amongst the many challenges impacting the domestic economy is the Ukraine-Russia war, which is wreaking havoc across supply chains, financial systems and in commodity markets, at a time when world economies, including Zimbabwe, are still battling the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Crucially, the weakening Zimbabwe dollar is causing inflation to spike against a background where the power supply situation in the country has remained challenging due to on-going load shedding amid a lower than expected harvest this April due to poor rainfall patterns in other regions of the country.

Notwithstanding, the authorities in Zimbabwe are staying the course with the National Development Strategy 1:2021-2025, which aims to put the country on the path to transform itself into an Upper Middle Income Economy by the year 2030.

“The Business Breakfast Forum aims to begin conversations around the impact of the global developments on Zimbabwe so that stakeholders could collectively fashion their responses to move the country’s economy forward.

“From these conversations, stakeholders should be able to agree on broad brushstrokes for immediate consideration especially as the Ministry of Finance shall be framing policy and regulatory interventions to improve the workings of the economy,” said Chikurunhe.

In brief, the Business Breakfast Forum aims to offer the ministry of Finance an opportunity to update the market on current global and domestic developments and their impact on the local economy while also allowing it to outline interventions being implemented by the government and its agencies to improve the operating environment.

Chikurunhe said the forum also presents a platform for the Ministry of Finance to get input from industry, commerce, the development sector and other stakeholders regarding the situation on the ground and what they would like to see obtaining in their immediate and distant environments while also serving to promote national conversations which are necessary in pointing the nation in the right direction.

Over 150 captains of industry and commerce are expected to attend the event.

“As the sages say, behind every dark cloud is a silver lining. As the Covid-19 pandemic combines with the impact of the Ukraine-Russia war and the sanctions placed on Zimbabwe by governments in Europe and the west, Zimbabwe will be leaning towards in-award-looking strategies to keep its economy afloat. For example, there is going to be a huge demand for commodities in most parts of the world, which offers opportunities for Zimbabwe since the country is endowed with good climatic conditions, rich soils and an abundance of mineral wealth.

“However, most of the opportunities that Zimbabwe stands to gain in the midst of all these challenges are largely possible in the medium to long-term and would require a well thought-out response with specific timelines within which it could be rolled out. To get started, we have created a platform through the Business Breakfast Forum for stakeholders to dialogue around these issues. Once there is the meeting of minds; it becomes easy for the policymakers to carry everyone with them in making decisions that are in the best interest of the country’s economy,” Chikurunhe remarked.

Shamaine Chirimjiri