By Alois Vinga
BUSINESS lobby group, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) recent study has revealed that capacity utilisation in industry and business for the year 2022 stands at 63% sustaining an upwards trajectory from the preceding years.
The growth comes on the back of a rigorous economic reform agenda being initiated in the midst of several internal and external headwinds confronting the nation.
To this end, authorities have managed to relatively improve the access to foreign currency for companies, taming inflation and weeding out speculative behaviour destabilising the markets.
The ZNCC’s study titled State of the Industry and Commerce Survey results for the year 2022 is one of the independent voices confirming the positive impact of the efforts being invested.
“Capacity utilisation in industry and commerce increased by 15,5% in 2022 to 63% from 45,5% in 2021, on the back of performance in information and communication technology, transportation and storage, and mining and quarrying, where capacity was above 75%,” the report said.
Operating below the 50% mark were electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning supply. Capacity utilisation in the sector was 40% in 2022, up from 39% in 2021.
Agriculture, hunting, fishing, and forestry capacity utilisation fell to 58% in 2022 from 80% in 2021.
However, in terms of business confidence or the respondents’ perception of the current situation compared to 2021 and their expectation of 2022, 77% considered the general domestic economic situation in 2022 to have deteriorated compared to 2021, while 15% of stakeholders viewed the 2022 situation as improved.
“The business confidence index reflected by firms and the business community is generally negative for the upcoming year of 20223,” the survey said.
The ZNCC urged authorities to implement recommendations from the 2021 survey as the only strategy for the country to improve the business operating environment amid a warning that failure to do so may prolong the depressed economic climate.
Among other factors, the survey suggested the need to ensuring a stable power supply and maintaining policy consistency.