By Alois Vinga
FINANCE Minister Mthuli Ncube has begun service as the country’s Treasury boss with a meeting with 50 of the country’s top business executives in attempts to gauge the concerns of business.
An emailed statement from a staffer in Ncube’s office who identified herself as Rosemary Glynn confirmed the development and hinted the minister has also lined up more meetings with other key stakeholders in the economy.
“New Zimbabwe Minister of Finance Professor Mthuli Ncube has embarked on a listening and consulting roadshow with stakeholders, starting with a private meeting with captains of industry,” she said.
“Today, he met with fifty chief executive officers of the leading businesses in Zimbabwe to consult and listen to the challenges they are facing operating in Zimbabwe.
“Issues raised by Zimbabwe’s leading Chief executive officers who met today with Professor Mthuli Ncube include prohibitive cost of finance, shortage of foreign currency, high import duties, uncompetitive business environment and bureaucracy.”
Among some of the executives who met the minister were those from Anglo America, British American Tobacco, Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe, CDF Investments Trust, Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Delta, Dulux Paints, Ecobank, EcoCash, Econet, Fast JET and FBC Bank among others.
According to the ministry, the captains of industry discussed possible solutions to the challenges the business leaders were experiencing in their operations.
Ncube has reportedly made assurances he will take into account the issues raised and proposed solutions as he kicks off his mandate to make Zimbabwe a middle income country by 2030 as espoused by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in his many public addresses.
The business community in the country has been up in arms with government for allegedly making some policy announcements that were not sensitive to the expectations of both business and the common men on the ground.
The development marks a breaking point from the country’s dominant top-down leadership style used since independence.
Ncube who took over from Patrick Chinamasa has expressed confidence that he will turn around the country’s economic fortunes despite years of underperformance.
On the other hand, Zimbabweans who are optimistic that he has the qualities to transform the nation speculate that he may not receive the required political backing necessary for the implementation of radical economic policies.