Economy now dominated by wholesale, retail trade

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ZIMBABWE’S business activity is now dominated by wholesale and retail trade as well as motor vehicle repairs due to a declining economy, according to a joint government and U.S. agency report.
The Zimstat-USAID Central Business Register Inquiry Report conducted between Aug. 2013 and June 2014 showed that 59 percent of operators in the country were in the wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motor cycle section.
This was followed by 11 percent in the manufacturing industry, 9.2 percent in education, five percent in services and 4.7 percent in accommodation and food services.
Mining and quarrying made up 0.2 percent of the establishments.
The report also showed that 30 percent of the businesses had an annual turnover of less than 5,000 U.S. dollars while about three percent had an annual turnover above one million U.S. dollars.
The survey was done on 52,343 operating establishments across the country although Zimstat notes that the response rate for Harare was low at 56 percent.
The report says that 82 percent had less than four employees per establishment as at Dec. 2012.
According to the report, 60 percent of the establishments were sole proprietorships followed by 19 percent which belonged to private limited companies.
The lowest number of establishments was owned by the central government at 0.9 percent.
The report attributed low government-owned business to its decentralisation policy soon after independence in 1980.
“Most of the establishments once owned by the central government are now owned by local authorities,” said the report.
“This explains why there are more establishments owned by local authorities than by central government. The other reason is that the CBR inquiry excluded line ministries.”
At national level, 304,023 persons were at one time employed during the year 2012 with 240, 928 of these having been full time employees.
Harare Province had the highest number of full time employees at 39.8 percent while Mashonaland Central Province had the least at 2.6 percent.
The results also showed that 21 percent of the establishments had started operating in 2013 as the economy turned more to trading, while only nine percent of the businesses had operated for more than 30 years.Advertisement

Zimbabwe has undergone economic challenges for over a decade that have resulted in significant de-industrialization.