The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), says climate change-induced unpredictable rainfall patterns are a worrying factor for businesses as it could affect their productivity.
The Meteorological Services Department had predicted normal-to-above normal rainfall with the rainy season envisaged to stretch up to March 2022.
However, the extremely hot weather experienced in the past month derailed the planting patterns, with some areas in the country affected by hailstorm.
In an interview, CZI national president Mr Kurai Matsheza said the unpredictable rainfall patterns have not been good with the outputs a worrying factor.
He said with the extreme hot weather and severe hailstorms that are affecting this year’s tobacco crop, they were now worried about the quality of the 2022 tobacco auction season.
“There are certain factors that are worrying in terms of the late rainy season and in certain areas it hasn’t been good so the output from agriculture is a worrying factor. But we hope things will normalise and maybe we will have a better outcrop.
“We are looking forward to the start of the tobacco selling season to commence soon so that foreign currency can be availed to our members as it filters through from tobacco sales and through the foreign currency auction system that we have,” he said.
In terms of the commodity prices, he said they were anticipating that they remain firm so that the mining sector could continue to perform better and bring in more foreign currency which can be traded on the auction floor.
Mr Matsheza said for the foreign currency auction system they were looking forward to it being refined in 2022.
“Once the foreign currency exchange system resumes, we hope that things can be smoothened, loopholes tightened and the availability of the foreign currency to improve. The movement of the rates itself becomes predictable and encourages the holders of foreign currency to come to the auction floor.”
He said with the 2022 National Budget statement delivered by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube stating that capital goods will remain duty free, it was an encouragement for industry players, as it would allow them to look for funds to retool their businesses.
In the same vein he pleaded with bankers to heed the clarion call by Prof Ncube to be creative in sourcing US dollars to loan out to the productive sector.
“We were all disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic and as businesses we took a position that we are going to encourage all our employees to get vaccinated.
“But as you are aware the Covid-19 outbreaks are not going away as we are in the fourth wave, so the position taken by Government is that there will be a booster shot available to the generality of the people.
“We also encourage all our employees together with the entire population of Zimbabwe to make sure that those who are not yet vaccinated with the two doses are vaccinated and those having to go for the booster shot do likewise,” he said.
Mr Matsheza said one key challenge that needed to be addressed was power cuts that continued to affect industries.
He said as industries they were appealing to Government to accelerate projects such as the Hwange Power Station expansion exercise to alleviate power cuts for production capacities to grow.
Mr Matsheza commended Government for the fruitful infrastructure development projects seen so far such as roads rehabilitation, construction of dams that were key in terms enabling businesses to function in a better and conducive environment.