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Zimbabwe Businesses Plead For Violence Free 2013

The business community says it is engaging the three political partners in the national unity government to work for calm ahead of next year’s landmark constitutional referendum and general election.

The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) blames what it calls the government’s “policy inconsistencies” for making 2012 a very disappointing year for business and the economy overall.

In 2012, industrial capacity utilization dropped from last year’s figure of 57 percent to 44 percent.

ZNCC president, Oswell Binha, told the VOA that political instability is a cause for concern.

Government missed all its economic targets this year.

In January, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said Zimbabwe would see 9.4 percent growth, later revised down to 4.4 percent.

What the final figure will be when tallied next year remains to be seen, but what is clear is that Zimbabwe faces several major economic hurdles.

One is a massive trade deficit of $3 billion and an external debt of $11 billion. Industrial capacity utilization continues to decline, now at only 44 percent.

Unemployment in the formal sector is around 90 percent, which means few Zimbabweans have steady income to be spent on goods and services that drive the economy.

Several of Zimbabwe’s elections since independence have been marred by violence and allegations of human rights abuses.

Such incidents prompted Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to pull out of the 2008 presidential election run-off, which led to the creation of the national unity government.

Many businesses have also faced upheaval, particularly under the controversial black empowerment programme.
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