BULAWAYO — Bulawayo’s business community is happy that elections will finally be held at the end of this month, putting an end to uncertainty that has hamstrung operations.Association of Business in Zimbabwe (ABUZ) chief executive officer, Lucky Mlilo, said the business community had been fed-up with the uncertainty which was negatively affecting business.
“There has just been a wait-and-see attitude; there hasn’t been anything taking place, most business transactions are shelved,” he said.
Mlilo said they appreciated that the country’s political direction was now clear.
“The general feeling among business people is that after elections, it’s back to business as usual and we expect business to do better,” he said.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) Bulawayo chapter first vice president, Tshidzanani Malaba, said businesses were paralysed by the election mode that has gripped the country.
“Things are almost on a standstill, banks have gone quiet, they are not lending while fixed costs are constantly rising when there is no (increase in) income,” he said.
“Under normal circumstances, elections are meant to be a phase that should not affect business,” added Malaba.
He said regrettably some businesses were even going to fold after polls due to accumulating costs.
He said the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) and National Social Security Authority (NSSA) should be lenient with companies that had defaulted on tax and pension payments.
Matabeleland Business Association (MBA) chairperson, Peter Mkhwananzi, said businesses were eager to see an end to the coalition government that failed to deliver in reviving the economy due to political discord.
“Elections will come and go and we are hoping whoever wins will have the mandate to run this country,” he said.
Mkhwananzi said government had failed to protective local industries which has struggled to survive after Zimbabwe ditched its local currency for a multicurrency regime.
While the business sector has welcomed the holding of elections at the end of July, they contend these will have to be free and fair in order to produce an outcome that would not be contested.
Moreover, the elections should ensure the country wins the confidence of the international community in order to unlock funding from both bilateral and multilateral financial institutions, which slammed the door on the country after a poll in 2002 which the opposition alleged had been violent and not free and fair.
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