Govt urged not to forget local business

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ZIMBABWE National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) is worried about the increased focus by government on foreign direct investment (FDI) while neglecting local businesses that endured the tumultuous economic era of yesteryear.

BY LEARNMORE NYONI

Speaking at the ZNCC Midlands annual dinner and business awards ceremony held at the Village Lodge in Gweru recently, ZNCC Midlands region vice-president Julian Mashavakure said government must not neglect local businesses.

“While there is excitement about the prospects of increased FDI inflows, employment creation and economic revival, our cry as business is that please don’t forget us,” he said.

“After all, we were in the trenches together. We did all we could as business to ensure that this economy moves forward during those dark days when the country was shun by investors. We soldiered on.”

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’ diplomatic offensive has seen hordes of investors showing interest in various sectors of the economy scrambling to pen investment deals.

This has, however, come at a cost to local businesses which fear that the increased interest in foreign investors may see local businesses being shouldered out of competition by huge capital foreign investments.

While local entrepreneurs commend the government’s move to attract FDI to grow the economy it feels, however, that there was need to protect local businesses against foreign competition.

In the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries composite Business Confidence Index released last month, industry reported losing confidence in the current administration due to its failure to assist them.

The report said the government’s failure to assist manufacturers experiencing challenges in making payments to their foreign suppliers was worrisome.

Solomon Matsa, the managing director of Matsa Energy LPG and Solar and Memory Mugadza a pharmacist who has been running her own pharmacy Joy Pharmacy since 2011 scooped the Businessman and Businesswoman of the Year respectively at the awards.

Kwekwe Polytechnic acting principal engineer Callisto Muzongondi won the Tertiary Entrepreneurial Initiative award, while Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution won best the Public Enterprise award.