COMMENT: Businesses must desist from criminal activities

28 May, 2023 - 00:05 0 Views
COMMENT: Businesses must desist from criminal activities President Mnangagwa

The Sunday News

THE Government has been working round the clock to create a conducive environment for the economy to improve for the benefit of all citizens.

When policies are implemented and they become a success, the first beneficiaries are the businesses themselves. It is behind that background that we expect the business sector to support Government initiatives to keep the economy on a growth trajectory.

President Mnangagwa last week warned businesses to remain ethical and desist from underhand dealings that make the lives of ordinary people difficult.

“Fifth and bordering on criminality and sabotage, bids for foreign exchange on the auction are not always translating into further retooling or more importation of raw materials for expanded manufacturing activity.

By and large, retooling is done, with raw material requirements fully known. Economic activity remains at current levels. Clearly, we are seeing proceeds from the auction finding their way into pockets of speculators; or worse, getting illicitly transferred beyond our borders for stashing and for supporting mother companies or simply as sequestered cash assets.

We even have had cases of importers of wheat and edible crude oil using shelf companies domiciled in countries that grow neither wheat nor soya! Such shelf companies are conduits for transfer pricing, and thus for externalisation. All these are acts of downright criminality,” said President Mnangagwa in his last week’s column in this publication.

In addition, some unscrupulous businesses have been accused of redirecting basic goods into the informal sector where big companies have created a web of agents who sell such goods exclusively in foreign currency.


“Not only is the consumer hard done by. The Government is prejudiced in that taxes are evaded, ironically by the same businesses Government will have foster-cared, funded and grown through the auction system. Formal retail channels are no longer being used to reach the market, in favour of self-created agents who operate in the twilight zone of informality and downright tax evasion. Our multi-currency policy is also undermined as Zimbabwe dollar-earning workers are now being forced to buy basics priced exclusively in foreign currency.”

What is also disheartening is that some businesses are making life difficult for consumers, the majority of whom get salaries in local currency, by switching off point of sale machines (POS), claiming they are out of order, in a bid to force USD sales.

Money changers

“Maybe the time has now come for the Government to insist that such businesses who do such tricks should suspend trading until they are able to technically handle transactions in multi-currency, as is bade by our laws,” said the President.

What is clear on the ground is that some businesses have betrayed the trust bestowed on them by the Government, and that should stop. For the economy to improve, businesses must play ball and remain ethical. It does not help anyone to engage in illicit deals, which also make the lives of ordinary people difficult. Those engaged in unethical practices must be warned, as said by President Mnangagwa.

“Above all, short-circuiting set rules and cutting corners in business attract very stiff sanctions. Those who break our exchange control rules, or who money launder, will only have themselves to blame. No one in business should doubt my Government’s resolve to correct blatant market failures, and to counteract and foil sinister moves to destabilise our economy.

Government’s responsibility is to protect the consumer, and to ensure stability in the market and inside the country. We will take all measures necessary to ensure there is stability, including painful ones should that ever become necessary.”

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