Firms call for more ease of doing business reforms

Source: Firms call for more ease of doing business reforms | The Herald

Firms call for more ease of doing business reforms
Triple Tee Footwear managing director Enock Chitekedza and sales and marketing manager Godknows Simbanegavi at their exhibition stand at the ongoing IATF2021 in Durban, South Africa

Kudzanai Sharara in Durban, South Africa

Triple Tee Footwear, a safety shoe manufacturing company based in Sunway City Industrial Park, says there is need to improve the ease of doing business in the country to enhance competitiveness of local firms in regional and international markets.

Despite operating in a Special Economic Zone, Triple Tee Footwear has had to grapple with intermittent power supply which forces it to resort to the use of more expensive generators.

Sunway City gets its power supply through the same line as Mabvuku and other Harare Eastern suburbs, but the area suffers frequently from load shedding.

“Our processes, whether we are producing or not, require consistent power supply, but we rarely have that from the national grid.”

“We then have to use generators requiring 18 litres of diesel per hour for the bigger generator when producing, and 6 litres of diesel for the small generator when not producing.

“This makes it very expensive when compared to using electricity from the national grid,” said Triple Tee Footwear managing director Enock Chitekedza.

He said operations were run on generators 60 percent of the time, but things could be better if the area, which is a special economic zone, was given a dedicated power line.

Triple Tee Footwear is currently exhibiting at the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2021), and believes, in terms of quality, its safety shoes are only comparable to those made in South Africa, across the continent.

The only differentiator is the ease and cost of going business, according to Chitekedza.

He said the other aspect which needs to be considered is issues to do with duties on raw materials where South African companies pay duty on FOB, but Zimbabwe firms pay duty on CIF.

“The second point is the duty regime, as leather companies we pay 25 percent and South African companies pay 10 percent, but we are competing in the same space, so already we are marginalised when it comes to international trade because our duties are higher and we are not playing on a level field yet we want to boost our exports,” Chitekedza explained.

He also said Triple Tee Footwear has also failed, since 2016, to get rebates on duty which players in the leather sector are supposed to get when importing raw materials as required by law.

The firm imports chemicals used in the safety shoe manufacturing  from Italy and South Africa.

The challenges have however not stopped the firm from seeking to grow its export market.

The company is one of the 30 local firms at the Zimbabwe pavilion, one of the most exquisite at the ongoing IATF2021 in Durban South Africa.

Chitekedza said the company is resilient and believes its products can still get a share of the regional market.

“Our products are of top quality and in addition to our outlet in Zambia, we are here (at IATF2021) to expand our regional markets.

“The reason being that we want to generate the much needed foreign currency.”

Chitekedza applauded the foreign currency auction system for providing reasonably priced forex requirements.