Zimbabwe on the brink of collapse

Gweru, -Industries in Zimbabwe are collapsing due to uncertainty posed by threats of expropriation, a liquidity crunch and massive power outages.

Captains of industry and business leaders in Kwekwe and Gweru pleaded with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to intervene and halt the rot.

Tsvangirai is in the Midlands touring companies on the invitation of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI).

 On Friday, Tsvangirai toured Sables Chemicals and Steelmakers both in Kwekwe and Bata Shoe Company and Anchor Yeast in Gweru.

 At all the stops he made, the Prime Minister was told how emissaries of senior Zanu (PF) officials were threatening to take over private owned businesses under the guise of indigenisation.

 The officials requested for protection from Tsvangirai following the threats of illegal raids by Zanu (PF) officials.But Tsvangirai said indigenisation will not be used to wrestle businesses from rightful owners.

 On its part the CZI said indigenisation should not be used a vehicle to enrich a few elite but should be broad-based. The companies asked Tsvangirai for help in finding investors to bring new money into the struggling companies.

“From your illustration your problems are quite wide,” Prime Minister Tsvangirai told Bata Shoe Company officials.

 “You are aware that as politicians we are trying to solve the political problem. We hope that political problem will be resolved so that there’s stability in the country. Once you have stability you have policy predictability which will give potential investors confidence,” said Tsvangirai.

 He added: “It is sad that in the past Bata was employing 5000 but is now down to 1500 people. That’s an indictment of social and economic contraction that we want to address.”

Some of the problems that were affecting companies had to do with policy inconsistencies for instance where imported raw materials are being charged duty while imported finished products are not being charged duty.

On power, the company leaders said the high price of electricity is affecting profitability. 

Tsvangirai said as Head of Government, he will follow up on the issues raised by the business leaders.

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The Premier will visit the Zimbabwe Iron and Smelting Company (ZIMASCO) on Saturday before addressing an MDC provincial rally at Mkoba Stadium in Gweru on Sunday.