A BREAKFAST business forum has been set for Bulawayo tomorrow at a hotel to discuss and deliberate on issues affecting Bulawayo industry and come up with possible solutions.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
The forum comes after Zimbabwe’s second largest city, once the country’s manufacturing hub, has seen over 100 companies close in recent years due to its perennial water problems cited as the main reason. The city’s industry needs an estimated $500 million in the short term to recapitalise, according to economic analysts.
The forum, organised by Innotec in partnership with Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, would be addressed by top businesspeople from across the country as well as government officials among others.
In a statement, Innotec administrator Nompumelelo Bhebhe said the forum offers new programmes focused on uncovering opportunities by sharing knowledge on resources in Bulawayo province, expertise and market intelligence from various sources.
She said the programme’s three-session format presents a unique structure for interest groups to focus on specific topics and debate issues that affect the broader Bulawayo business landscape.
“Session one will seek an articulation of government’s socio-economic vision for Bulawayo, strategies for survival and growth, and will discuss the role of government, its departments and agencies, local authority, parastatals and State-owned enterprises in Bulawayo’s economic matrix,” Bhebhe said.
Some of the issues lined up for discussion, according to Bhebhe, include government’s and council’s facilitative role; the negative effects of unjustified imports, unabated smuggling and uncontrolled vending on the local industry and proposed measures; and the supportive role of parastatals and State-owned enterprises.
Bhebhe said session two would revisit operational challenges faced by Bulawayo businesses.
“These have been discussed over the years in different forums, but the challenges still persist. However, there are companies that have survived the harshest economic conditions and continue to perform reasonably well,” she added.
“This session will focus on possible internal operational weaknesses and suggest possible solutions. Discussion highlights will include business efficiencies (with focus on internal operational efficiencies); personal transformation for organisational development and growth; and leadership’s role for successful strategy execution.”
Bhebhe said session three would focus on the province’s potential. She said because of its location, Bulawayo plays an important role not only in the national economy of Zimbabwe, but of the Sadc region as well.
“How best can Bulawayo businesses leverage their province’s position in the national and regional economy for survival and growth? This session will highlight amazing economic statistics on Bulawayo; explore resources in the province for possible economic exploitation; and emphasise the importance and benefits of supporting local (Bulawayo) products and services for the revival of the province’s economy,” she said.
Some of the invited panellists include Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Eunice Sandi Moyo, Bulawayo mayor Martin Moyo and representatives from the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, National Railways of Zimbabwe, Cold Storage Company and PPC among others.
Innotec is a leading socio-economic research and advisory services organisation.