The CZI conducts annual surveys on how business is going on in Zimbabwe, currently undergoing economic surgery after years of economic stagnation.
“Yes I can confirm that our industry is currently operating at between 40 and 45 percent,” a CZI economist said in an interview.”It would be great to be able to operate at 100 percent but this is very difficult at the moment.”
She played down the issue of sanctions slapped on the cash-strapped nation, saying sanctions could actually help boost the economy as business executives would become more prepared for change and competition.
Zimbabwe’s top leadership including President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle have been slapped with sanctions. All companies belonging or linked to mainly the former ruling Zanu (PF) party and its bosses can also not do business with major international firms.
She said there was too much competition within the manufacturing sector because China and Tanzania were doing “brisk business” with local tycoons.
“There is a lot of competition from countries such as China and clothing from Tanzania and our business people should be able to compete,” she said.
China has virtually taken over the country’s struggling business sector with their “US$1 for two” tactics countrywide.
The Chinese and Nigerians have also used their US dollars to snap up lucrative buildings around the cities and sell items at much cheaper rates than their Zimbabwean counterparts.
The CZI economist said Zimbabwe could, however, soon get back on track because of the current dual cash being used.
Zimbabwe is currently using the US greenback and the South African Rand as legal tender having dumped the worthless Bearer Cheques that were being minted “hourly” at Dr Gideon Gono’s Fidelity Printers and Refineries (Private) Limited, a subsidiary of the now former influential Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).
Zimbabwe has a shocking unemployment rate of above 80 percent despite having a very vibrant Scale and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) sector.
The World Bank (WB) has, meanwhile, told all African countries to focus on their SME sectors because there is much potential in them and they could, in fact, help spur necessary economic growth.
Africa has about 55 percent uncultivated lands, but is very poor.