MATABELELAND Chambers of Industries president Busisa Moyo has blamed the fresh economic problems the country is facing on the poisoned political environment.
Moyo, who is United Refineries managing director, told journalists in Bulawayo on Wednesday that there had been a serious drop in demand for goods and services due to the economic problems.
He said the falling demand was due to political leaders “who are concentrating on political agendas and drifting away from economic activities”.
Moyo said major economic players were closing shop while others were resorting to judicial management due to the economic crisis.
“Cottco filed for judicial management, Cargill pulled out of the cotton industry, Romsdal —another cotton player in Chiredzi — went into liquidation and this affects the cotton value chain,” he said.
Moyo also bemoaned the crippling power outages, which he said were taking their toll on local industry.
He urged Zesa to empathise with industry, particularly in Bulawayo and other parts of Matabeleland, because of peculiar problems the region is facing.
“If we have disruptions in the electricity supply we have product losses and inefficiency,” he said.
Moyo said business was also facing difficulties in accessing affordable finance, saying they needed interests’ rates that were below 10%.
He said for Bulawayo to survive, business should have access to permits locally, urging the government to decentralise licensing and issuing of export permits.
“Smuggling and corruption is also of serious concern,” he said.
“If these goods are smuggled into the country, they are auctioned and they end up in the market thereby affecting our industrial growth.
“Smuggled goods should not be auctioned but given to the players that are in that sector.”