In cognisance of a declaration made by His EXCELLENCY THAT EVERY FIRST FRIDAY OF EACH CALENDAR MONTH IS A NATIONAL CLEAN UP DAY, This month’s clean- up day is tomorrow 01 February 2019. The National Clean Up Day is in the spirit of creating a clean, safe and healthy environment and it is the duty of every individual across the country to clean up their surrounding areas between 8am and 10am
Our membership is therefore cordially invited to join the Minister of Industry and Commerce Hon Mangaliso Nqobizitha Ndhlovu at a clean-up campaign tomorrow (Friday 01 February, 2019) in the Highfield industrial area in Harare. Those interested in joining the campaign should meet at Highfield Road, corner Paisley road (near the banks at the roundabout) by 08.00 hours where an opening function will be held. Kindly bring brooms, gloves and dust coats for use during the campaign.
The Chambers Awards season is nigh, and all regions have opened up Nominations for Regional Awards!!! The nomination process is as follows. Nomination forms are sent to the general business public. These forms are to be filled in and returned to the ZNCC offices. After the submission date deadline.
A shortlist of nominees per category will be deduced by the adjudication committee based on aggregate nomination forms submitted. An independent adjudication committee void of ZNCC influence will preside, vet and tally the nominations to come up with a list of the top finalists using transparent and internationally acceptable adjudication criteria. These finalists will be notified of their eligibility to a ZNCC award and are invited to attend the awards ceremony where the Winner and 1st Runner Up will be announced to the business community in the respective region. Deadline dates for Nomination Submissions are as follows:
Mashonaland: 15 February 2019
Masvingo: 08 February 2019
ZNCC represented by ZNCC President Tamuka Macheka was part of the delegation to Russia that was led by His Excellency - President E D Mnangagwa from 14 to 17 January 2019. ZNCC presented, during the Russia Zimbabwe Business forum, on the overall Business Environment in Zimbabwe and extended an invitation to the Russian Business Community to partner Zimbabwean Businesses and establish Joint Ventures. The Russia Zimbabwe Business Forum was attended by more than 100 Russian Business representatives.
ZNCC President- Tamuka Macheka and CCI of Russia President – Sergey Katyrin during the MOU signing ceremony
The forum also consisted of an MOU signing ceremony between ZNCC and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation (CCI of Russia) and the cooperation centred on:
Supporting Trade, investment and economic cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Zimbabwe through:
- Ongoing exchange of data and business information,
- Assistance to business delegations exchange,
- Promotion of Business contacts between enterprises and entrepreneurs of both countries,
- Promotion of exhibition and fairs events conducted in the Russian Federation and the Republic of Zimbabwe.
The Chamber hosted His Excellency Beka Dvali – Georgia Ambassador to Zimbabwe on 23 October 2018. The visit by the Ambassador was meant to unlock investment opportunities in Zimbabwe and to facilitate Joint Venture opportunities given that Georgia is focusing on opening up new markets. The meeting was also meant to discuss cooperation modalities between Zimbabwe and Georgia Businesses and possibilities of having a Zimbabwe Business Delegation to Georgia and a Georgia Business Delegation to Zimbabwe.
The Chamber presented and submitted its 2019 National Budget input to the Parliament Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce on 25 October 2018. Issues affecting business were presented to the Portfolio Committee and these include Boarder Management Systems- where it was highlighted that the country’s ranking at 153/190 in trading across borders is a cause for concern and that smuggling has been rampant on ports of entry and this needs to be addressed. Some of the issues that were presented focused on Fiscal deficit, Corruption, Taxation, SI 122, Local Content Policy and World to Trade facilitation agreement.
ZNCC attended the Business Networking reception that was held on Wednesday 17 October 2018, following a visit by the Australia Africa Council. The reception was hosted by Australian Ambassador to Zimbabwe H. E Bronte Moules. The seminar provided an opportunity to exchange experiences and views on areas of cooperation between the two countries. ZNCC presented on Investment opportunities in Zimbabwe to the Australia Delegation
- We are where we are cause electronic dollars are more than real dollars- local dollars coming from the government
- Economy requires rightsizing
- Root cause of money supply growth is fiscal imbalances
- 8bn Government borrowing, which is more than market deposits ($9.7bn)
- Issue not about changing currency
- Strengthen multicurrency system – separate FCA accounts
- Ring fence foreign currency earners- Nostro FCA accounts and RTGS FCA accounts
- Immediate effect- new money coming in or that which was already being Ring fenced
- Expectation is not necessarily new accounts to be opened
- People must know they don’t have foreign currency
- Negotiated with Afrexim for a Nostro stabilization facility of $500m- to be in place by end of October
- Nostro foreign currency accounts pertains to free funds, exporters, portfolio investors etc
- Gold 30%, platinum and chrome 35%, tobacco 20% and others are 100%
- Banks to align systems by 15 October
- Banks pay interest on Nostro foreign currency accounts
- No more 14 day window period for use of foreign currency
- Rate parity is going to be maintained
- Facilities to support RTGS foreign currency accounts for critical commodities - adding up to almost $500m from various lenders
- External Debt Arrear clearance expected within 6 months
- Foreign currency payments – minimize externalisation
- Invoice name should match account details
- High value transactions to be done via LCs
- Export proceeds to be remitted on time
- Purchase of fuel to be done in foreign currency by all international truckers.
- Same applies to foreigners buying goods in Zimbabwe e.g. fuel and cooking oil
- Purchase of gold by jewelers from Fidelity now in foreign currency not RTGS
- Settlement of capital gains tax in foreign currency if selling property in foreign currency
- Disinvestments of investments outside Zimbabwe – the funds must be remitted back to Zimbabwe
- Introduction of Stat reserves to reduce liquidity – 5% on RTGS foreign currency account with effect from 1 November 2018 on a weekly compliance basis
- AFTRADE window remain open for those entities requiring interbank support
- Introduction of TB auction system wef 1 Nov. Currently the RBZ was not being the involved in the pricing discussions.
- Continuation of the savings bonds. End of August it was $1.5bn
- Construction facility fund to be introduced - All in interest rate of 10%
- Reminder of capitalisation levels which are due 2020
The ZNCC team recently met up with Vice President K. Mohadi and his team where the ZNCC shared with the V.P the structure of the Chamber, how it operates, composition of membership and what role ZNCC plays in the business sector. The Chamber guaranteed support to the government on the mission to turn around the economy. They also highlighted the challenges business is facing, the major ones being of forex shortages and high taxation charges. In return V.P Mohadi assured support to the ZNCC and business community and promised to act on the presented challenges with immediate effect.
As part of its business advocacy and lobbying mandates the ZNCC on the 30th of August held a meeting with ZIMRA to discuss tax and fiscal issues affecting businesses. Some of the key challenges that were highlighted are:-
- ASYCUDA is not reliable or timeous as it is always down thereby affecting the lead time of imports.
- E-filing is difficult to access sometimes and will also get congested on the due dates forcing submission of manual returns which still have to be re-submitted if you need a tax clearance.
- Taxation levels too high be it Customs Duty , PAYE , Corporate Tax that this is affecting many sectors who are closing down due to high taxes.
- Withholding VAT Certificates are taking long to come resulting in business not being able to claim withheld VAT, shipments being delayed at boarder and businesses paying demurrage charges.
- Departments/Sections should coordinate their assignments/audits to avoid asking for the same information from clients
- Quality control and standardisation of work is poor, what ZIMRA Bulawayo does is different from Harare
ZIMRA acknowledged all the raised challenges and responded by saying:-
- They have adopted a new approach i.e. to promote voluntary compliance than forcing
- ASYCUDA system has not been performing up to expectations from Dec 2017 – Jan 2018. As a result, steps has been taken to ensure such problems will not recur by upgrading and acquiring new hardware. A single window has also been introduced to eliminate the unnecessary stakeholders
- Have establish a facility for pre-clearance i.e. it can clear goods before they reach the boarder to avoid congestion and delays
- They are on a mission to tackle corruption by rotating staff members although the process comes with costs of educating certain individuals
- They have introduced an Authorised Economic Operators (AEOs) concept – a promotional facility for exporters and importers that have good records of compliance and have encouraged business to take advantage of it.
ZNCC further suggested to host a business breakfast meeting with ZIMRA, to allow the business community meet up with the new Commissioner General as well as have the essential questions answered directly by the ZIMRA personnel.
The Chamber hosted a breakfast meeting during the 2018 Agricultural show under the theme “Enterprise Development, Corporate Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Growth.”
The breakfast meeting constituted a panel discussion on the topic “The Continental Free Trade Area – Prospects for the Field to Industry value chain,” in a bid to interrogate the Agriculture opportunities for enhanced trade in the agro-processing value chain following the signing of the AfCFTA agreement by the Heads of State on 21 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda. The breakfast meeting was meant:-
- To identify key trade and development prospects for Agriculture in the CFTA
- To identify gaps in agriculture value chain linkages in order to come up with a position for input in policy formulation
From the event the major highlights were that:-
- Every day we all play a role in the industry value chains, usually at the end of the chain, as consumers. The reality being that industry value chains have become a dominant feature of world trade. They create a high level of interconnectedness and interdependency, making it very complex to steer changes in the direction we desire, towards a more sustainable world.
- Agriculture remains the backbone of this country’s economy, however, there is need to increase productivity in the sector while unlocking more downstream opportunities.
- Government and private sector need to complement each other in the Command programs to ensure value chains
- Private sector players need to read more on the Free Trade Area environment (SADC, Tripartite, COMESA and AfCFTA) in order to avoid losing out on the much needed information and become competitive as well
Finance and quality are very key elements for value chains