President Emmerson Mnangagwa this week all but admitted that his government has no solution to the cash crisis, pleading with business to boost productivity to generate the much-needed liquidity.
Officially opening the 59th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), Mnangagwa who is now the patron of the fair seemed to point at how difficult it was for his administration to single handedly put an end to the cash challenges that have bedevilled the country for years now.
After he took over from ousted leader Robert Mugabe in November last year, many anticipated that the new dispensation could solve the long cash queues that have continued to characterise the country’s banks.
Mnangagwa said: “Government is also aware of the foreign currency challenges and liquidity challenges, the country is grappling with.
“In this respect, I call upon industry, commerce and small to medium enterprise to be productive, export oriented and generate the much-needed foreign exchange,” he said.
“I exhort business to be alive to the fast converging global trading environment and develop business synergies that recognise the impact of protocols in Sadc, Comesa and the recent African Continental Free Trade Area signed in the African Union.
“Our resolve to attract foreign direct investment is re-engagement, partnership, attract Diaspora remittances and promote export productivity which will ultimately result in a growing economy and translate into improved liquidity of foreign currency.
“Sustainable economic growth will be achieved by us together, government, the private sector and foreign investors, my administration will consistently engage with all stakeholders to further improve the business operating environment,” Mnangagwa told a packed ZITF grounds.
Mnangagwa also seemed to admit that the civil servants who lately have been a headache to him over industrial actions, have lower salaries but again said things can only change if the economy improved.
“I am also certain that the quality of living, the conditions of service for the majority of our working population inclusive of the civil service and security forces will be enhanced as the economy grows and resources will become more available,” he said.
The president, however, took aim at officials operating at the country’s entry points commanding them to change attitude and work ethic or else face the music.
“Similarly my government is cognisant of the cost of trading across borders as well as undue irritation at our ports which impacts on competitiveness in doing export of business,” he said.
“Meanwhile I direct border officials such as Zimra, the department of Immigration and others to introspect and change their work ethics, their attitude and culture and facilitate the speedy movement of people and clearance of cargo at our ports of entry otherwise you need not to be there,” bellowed Mnangagwa attracting a round of applause from delegates.
He, however, indicated that processes were already underway to mobilise border posts in terms of fiscal infrastructure and enhance the use of a reliable ICT system.
He said all these were part of initiatives to ease congestion and facilitate efficient movement of goods and services.