Govt warns business

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Government has vowed to crack down on companies that engage in unethical business practices, which the administration said have harmed the struggling economy, Business Times can report.

The warning by Industry and Commerce minister Sekai Nzenza comes at a time businesses are battling adverse macroeconomic challenges such as hyperinflation, liquidity challenges and exchange rate volatility, among many other problems. The headwinds have affected industry’s capacity utilisation.

In a speech read on her behalf by chief director Douglas Runyowa at the on-going Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) Congress in Victoria Falls, Nzenza said the government would come up with counter measures which would be tough for business to continue operating.

“We can only achieve our goal if we remain united. As a government, we continue to urge businesses to practice good ethics in their trade, as failure to do so may call for counter measures which in some cases may be unfavourable for business,” Nzenza said.

She said the government “continue to invite the private sector to take a lead in policy reforms and support the government’s focus”.

Nzenza called for the strengthening of public, private relations and “shun those that try to derail the progress that we have witnessed in the last few years”.

Industry has been left in distress as a result of its frustration at being unable to predict and manage Zimbabwe’s unstable and toxic economy, which has persisted in its cries for help.

Many businesses are at a crossroads as a result of the deteriorating economic climate, which business leaders have described as VUCA, an acronym for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. They are currently living on the margins, which jeopardises their survival.

Consequently, the VUCA environment has forced Zimbabwe companies to engage in illegal business practices including the use of forward pricing, a move which has resulted in prices of goods skyrocketing and the depreciation of the local dollar, in anticipation of an upward exchange rate movement.

ZNCC president, Mike Kamungeremu said businesses have had to contend with adverse macroeconomic challenges.

“Economic realities should not be ignored by any organisation as demand of products are affected by real and perceived competition and the macroeconomic situation.

“ZNCC continues to pursue its mission that is to be a leader in business development in the national economy and a channel of communication between business and the various authorities. In pursuit of this, the chamber has had to contend with adverse macroeconomic challenges such as hyperinflation, liquidity challenges and exchange rate volatility, among many other problems. These have affected industry’s capacity utilisation. “

However, Kamungeremu said business should be ethical.

“We represent businesses of all sizes and all sectors. When we go and lobby on businesses’ behalf, sometimes we are told there are some members of the business community engaging in unethical business practices. We don’t support illegality. We support integrity, professionalism, honesty, responsibility and compliance with the law,” Kamungeremu said.

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