Source: OPEN FORUM: Government should help revive existing local businesses | The Financial Gazette April 26, 2018
By Mutemaringa Kurauone
ZIMBABWE is open for business is a mantra that restores hope to a nation that had surrendered its fate to the divine world.
The thrust of the mantra, however, seems to be mainly directed at foreign direct investment, itself a noble move. My big question, however, is: “What is the new government’s position on existing businesses that have been choking for close to two decades?”
Government should be seized with ensuring that existing businesses are given a new lease of life. Charity begins at home, it’s that simple.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya have already acknowledged that most of Zimbabwean businesses are as good as dead. So there is need for some sort of tax reprieve for the struggling local businesses.
I believe an honest and deliberate thrust to breathe life into the struggling businesses should entail a holistic approach and a sector by sector analysis of the challenges most businesses are or have been facing.
There is urgent need to review the tax burden, high rentals, input costs and other issues that are seriously affecting businesses.
In March this year, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority tried to encourage its clients to regularise their tax affairs through the Finance Act number 1 of 2018, which made provisions for the granting of a tax amnesty on application to companies, corporate or unincorporated body of persons and trusts.
In my view, the gazetting of the statutory instrument on tax amnesty which waived some interest and penalties for a six-month period has been a piecemeal intervention because businesses are barely managing to keep their heads above water mainly due to lack of working capital.
Government’s heavy borrowing from the banking sector has been a bone of contention for many companies who feel that it should limit its consumptive borrowings so that the private sector, especially the manufacturing sector, can be able to borrow to increase its capacity utilisation.
I feel that government is insincere in ensuring jobs are secured and our businesses and industries grow, if it is borrowing at such a scale when the engines of growth and job creation have gone silent due to lack of capital, spare parts and aging machinery.
Government thus far has shown some zeal to restore hope, correct past misdeeds and re-energise the citizenry to believe that there is a future tomorrow.
I, however, implore our government, in its commandeering initiatives, to consider command revival of existing business and industry.
Mutemaringa Kurauone is contactable on email firstname.lastname@example.org