Wilson Dakwa, Business Reporter
INDUSTRY body, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries says the economy is likely to grow beyond the projected 4,5 percent this year on the back of anticipated industrial growth due to improved investment climate.
Last year, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the economy was expected to grow by more than four percent on the back of anticipated growth in agriculture and mining.
In an interview, CZI president Mr Sifelani Jabangwe said Zimbabwe has the potential to attract more investments and exceed the $3 billion Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) which has since been attracted in the past seven weeks.
“The investments which we have received so far show that investors’ confidence in Zimbabwe is high and there is potential for us to attract more investors. If the rate of investments into the country remains constant, the economy will grow by bigger margins and surpass the projected 4,5 percent growth rate.
“Considering that we are only in the first quarter of the year and the Government has put in place projects aimed at reviving the economy, there is a lot to look forward to,” said Mr Jabangwe.
Statistics from Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) show that Zimbabwe approved potential investment projects of nearly US$1 billion in 2017 up from US$451 million in 2016.
During January to August 2017, the investment authority approved 102 projects which were less than those in 2016 as 112 projects were approved and valued at US$451 million.
Association for Business in Zimbabwe (Abuz) chief executive officer Mr Victor Nyoni said the increase in FDI will result in reduction of foreign currency deficit.
“As businesses, we are excited about the new dispensation’s efforts to increase investment traffic into the country. The incredible performance of the Government in the few months it has been in power has yielded results.
The increase in FDI will catalyse the curbing of foreign currency as the cash injections will be in foreign currency. We are also waiting to see how the Government will disburse the money to company level,” said Mr Nyoni.
Positive changes in foreign inflows will help to address the liquidity crisis which has resulted in the shortage of foreign currency and also reduce interest rates and overall cost of capital.
Price increases which started in the last quarter of 2017 were a result of the unavailability of foreign currency and the shortages drove premiums up as companies sought foreign currency on the black market.
Mr Jabangwe also applauded companies which have since increased their capacity such as Unilever Zimbabwe, saying that brought about development to the country and job creation.
Unilever made a capital investment of close to $500 000 towards transforming its factory capacity on its savoury product line amid future plans for further expansion to increase production on its other home care products.
The new plant has the capacity to process 30 tonnes of their largest savoury product unit.