ZITF hosts International Business Conference
Story by Sifiso Sibanda, Assistant News Editor
THE Government has assured the business community of a conducive operating environment and the necessary infrastructure for business to thrive.
The message was the highlight of the International Business Conference on Day Two of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), as the Second Republic works with industry and commerce to build the economy.
Officially opening the conference which ran under the theme: ‘Transformative Innovation, Global Competitiveness’, Vice President General Retired Dr Constantino Chiwenga said due to globalisation and the emergence of rival economic blocs, investment in innovation has become paramount as the country seeks to claim a huge stake on the international market.
“Since the inaugural of the second republic, our country has made significant strides in its economic development agenda. The government’s adoption of innovative and responsive policies, coupled with the resilience of our people, has led to economic success across various sectors. Wide-ranging economic reforms have restored confidence among entrepreneurs, and have induced prospective and potential entrepreneurs to come forward and set up new businesses,” he said.
The Vice President said the country’s economy is projected to grow by at least 3.8 percent this year, adding that it is pleasing to note that in 2022 about 47 percent of the Zimbabwean manufacturing firms upgraded their technologies to stay competitive.
As part of efforts to bolster economic growth and development, the government has put in place measures to promote import substitution by harnessing the participation of the private sector in the primary production of strategic agriculture commodities such as maize, wheat and soya bean.
“By supporting the local farmer through such framework as joint ventures and contract farming these interventions have resulted in food security and food self-sufficiency where positive spin-off offs in employment creation and increased raw materials supply to the industry which has also resulted in big savings in foreign currency,” said Vice President Chiwenga.
ZITF board chairman Mr Busisa Moyo said the conference is key in facilitating business engagements that lead to healthy competition in a globally competitive world.
“We as ZITF and our partners have brought all the players together business players that can be a factor in transforming our economy as we walk towards vision 2030 and given the levels of engagement where government is also committing itself to the needs of industry, we are confident that this will give us the desired results,” he said.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube assured the industry that the government is working on measures to attract new investment while maintaining economic stability.
“Propelled by the agricultural sector and investment in the mining sector we are a stronger economy and what as a government we have done is made sure inflation is contained so that you can operate efficiently. We have also availed the scarce foreign currency so that you can procure your needs and continue working and that commitment will continue,” said Professor Ncube.
Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza stressed that the focus is now on value addition and beneficiation for the country to increase its foreign currency receipts.
“Interdependency on local production supported by local consumption culture is the maid driver and as a government, we are working hard to facilitate all the needs of industry including permits,” she said.
Later in the day, Vice President Chiwenga toured various stands at the ongoing premier trade showcase and extolled the industrial sector for its resilience and growth, despite various challenges.
The Vice President interacted with exhibitors while also getting an appreciation of what is being showcased at the fair and expressed gratitude to external exhibitors for their show of confidence in Zimbabwe by taking part in the country’s top exhibition platform.