INDUSTRY and Commerce minister Mike Bimha on Wednesday said he was happy with preparations for this year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), which opens on April 28.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Bimha said the change of dates for this year’s showcase had been made to accommodate guest of honour, Zambian President Edgar Lungu’s diary.
“I’m pleased with the progress so far. I will go there (ZITF) to compare notes and for me to have an appreciation if there are any issues, which the government can assist them with,” he told Southern Eye.
Bimha was in Bulawayo for the official opening of the Zimbabwe–Europe Business Information Centre.
“We are looking forward to come over and be able to witness this year’s ZITF,” he said.
“Yes, the dates and some of the events have been moved around to accommodate the timetable for the guest of honour who is the president of Zambia (Edgar Lungu)”
“Traditionally the opening has always been on a Friday and this time it would be on a Thursday. Things are moving as planned and we are happy in general.”
ZITF Company last week said it had sold 90% of exhibition space for the annual event.
The 56th annual edition will be held from April 28 to May 2, under the theme “Simulating Trade: Seizing opportunities to accelerate growth”.
Sixteen countries namely Botswana, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Germany, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, the United States and Zambia would participate in this year’s fair.
Meanwhile, Bimha has condemned xenophobic attacks in South Africa saying they were a threat to business relations between the two countries.
“It’s very unfortunate that we have these xenophobic attacks moreso coming immediately after the State visit of our president (Robert Mugabe), he said.
“I had an opportunity to accompany the president on that visit, which I thought was very historic.”
He said it was unfortunate that some people were taking the law into their hands and soiling South Africa’s image.
“As the government, we are looking into the whole issue with the view of making sure that we give protection to Zimbabweans,” Bihma said.
“Those who are prepared or who would like to come back home should be assisted to do so and be received with the dignity that they deserve.”
South Africa is Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner and thousands of Zimbabweans flock into that country every day in search of business opportunities.