The Sunday News
BULAWAYO played host to the 60th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair which ended yesterday, with thousands of people visiting the historic trade showcase.
This year’s event was historic in the sense that it was the first time that the entire space was taken up, forcing organisers to pitch tents outside halls to accommodate more than 100 exhibitors.
“The show is the biggest ever. We sold all possible space and for the first time in the history of ZITF we had to hire tents to accommodate 100 more exhibitors. This year we won’t be having VIP parking because we converted that space for extra exhibition space and the halls, which we haven’t been using for the last four to five years have been refurbished and converted to exhibition space,” said ZITF Company chairperson Ms Ruth Ncube on the eve of the show.
The space available for sale rose from a low of 47 612 square metres in 2016 to a high of 57 732 square metres this year. A total of 532 local direct exhibitors and 16 foreign countries were participating, showing strong desire to do business in Zimbabwe under the new dispensation. We commend the organisers and Government for such a wonderful achievement. The people of Bulawayo also deserve a pat on the back for their hospitality, as no major incidents of theft or violence were recorded.
Nonetheless, we also wish to urge businesses across the country to play their part in the country’s economic recovery and stop the wanton hiking of prices of goods. The Government is on record as saying the price madness was from hell.
Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, is on record as saying the wave of price increases being experienced on the market and the wild parallel market exchange rates have no economic justification as Government has successfully managed to stabilise the fundamental fiscal elements that previously fuelled inflation.
Addressing industry and commerce executives during the International Business Conference in Bulawayo last week, Prof Ncube lamented the level of indiscipline in the market, which he said thrives on speculative sentiments. He said such behaviour was far from ethical and standard economic practice and as such was creating a negative economic environment for the whole country. He added that Government finances were sound and money supply was not growing.
“So, where is pressure on the exchange rate coming from? Before we knew that it came from the fiscus, we were monetising the fiscal deficit and then money supply would grow but now where is the pressure coming from? So, clearly as the VP (Chiwenga) said, it is speculation and that speculation is not a good idea, we know who is driving it. Our job as Government is to make sure that our fundamentals that determine value of a currency are still strong. We are not careless in terms of how we spend and we make sure the value of the currency is preserved but you (businesses) should meet us halfway,” said Prof Ncube.
He said Government was forging ahead with implementation of painful but necessary austerity measures as building blocks towards desired prosperity. However, the austerity measures will not last for another year, he said.