CEOs urge economy dialogue between business and govt

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By Matebeleland North Correspondent

COMPANY executives who attended the 6th CEO Africa Round Table conference in Victoria Falls called for dialogue between business and government, saying this was key to addressing socio-economic and political problems affecting the country.

Oswell Binha, who chairs the CEOs Africa Round Table, lamented that government has “always been unwilling to meet business to Zimbabwe’s problems”.

“Clearly, the country is divided in various platforms with emotions reigning high as the injured populace recollects the nightmares of the bearer cheques and the wiping off of their life-long savings back in 2009,” said Bimha.

“As hard as it may be, it is important that as a country we make a collective decision on which path to take on this matter.

“Soon after election in 2008 we had a similar situation and dialogue and mutual understanding amongst political parties ended all our woes.

“If dialogue worked then, it can work now.”

He challenged the CEOs forum to “remove gloves and engage in frank, factual, no holds barred dialogue in pursuit of solutions to the challenges that bedevil us today”.

“We still struggle to get an audience with fiscal authorities, and we implore that government views business as allies and ambassadors of the country.

“After all it is business that will execute transactions that will spur growth.”

Binha further condemned government’s insistence on an exchange rate of 1:1 between United States dollar and the RTGS electronic currency as well as the resistance to allow a market determined exchange rate.

“This is in itself a catalyst of de-industrialisation,” he said.

Joining the Rand Monetary Union and having local currency would help put the struggling economy on a path to recovery.

“The country has the responsibility to address the tricky question of currency reform in an inclusive manner to ameliorate the situation,” said Bimha.

“Certain economic fundamentals need to be addressed first if we are to introduce our own currency.”