Business leaders are frustrated with the inability to anticipate and handle the country’s fragile and toxic economy which continues to implode, a situation which has left them in distress.
This emerged yesterday at the ongoing CEO Roundtable meeting in the resort town of Victoria Falls. The event runs up to Friday.
Several captains of industry yesterday described the chaotic business environment and worsening economic environment as VUCA, a horrible acronym, which was first used in the early 90s by the United States Army War College, to describe or to reflect volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity .
Zimbabwe has edged closer to the brink as many companies are forced by harsh economic conditions to close, throwing many people on the streets. Analysts yesterday warned that would make the country risky for investors.
JM Busha founder and managing director Joseph Busha warned that many companies would suffer the most if the situation remained unresolved.
JM Busha Investment Group has interest in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Namibia, and is responsible for managing about $5 billion investment funds.
“We have a new leadership but businesses still have no new path. In fact, businesses have sunk into distress,” Busha said.
“We are in a VUCA environment, which is making it difficult for businesses to thrive, this [VUCA], a landscape currently obtaining is killing business. Businesses are getting frustrated. There is uncertainty, there is volatility, uncertainty; it’s complex to do business in Zimbabwe and there is also ambiguity. Business is finding it difficult to pay staff and the staff is finding it difficult to pay fees for their children.”
He said companies don’t know how to deal with the bond notes; they don’t know how to deal with the world (the international market) and they don’t even know if the businesses will survive the next day
“Let’s stop talking about the potential (of Zimbabwe’s economy) but let’s talk about reality. The VUCA environment is upon us, we have no currency, no forex to bring fuel in, we have shortages of commodities, inflation is shooting up and it’s difficult for businesses to plan,” Busha said.
CEO Roundtable chairman Oswell Binha said his organisation has since presented a position paper from the CEO to the central bank in trying to deal with the volatile economic situation.
“Zimbabwe has a twin problem the budget deficit and fiscal deficit, that’s outside the political turbulence and corruption,” Binha said.
The CEO Roundtable is a platform which represents corporate chief executive officers and senior executives in both public and private sectors
Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda said CEOs must tell each other the truth.
“Our problems require CEOs who are innovative for economic growth. That voice is silent. We cannot continue blaming imperial powers forever. It doesn’t matter the colour of the cat, as long as that it catches the mice,” he said.
“To CEOs, I implore you to play your role and go out and catch the economic mice for economic prosperity. CEOs must lead the crusade for our economies to be a giant.” Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts Tendai Biti said there were a contested narrative and a broken down social contract which affects GDP.
“We need to respect the rule of law. If we have a contested political situation, you lose about 10 points of GDP. Companies are closing, mainly because of the mishandling of the currency issue,” Biti said.
The other biggest challenge we have is the security of a person, the shutting down of internet and violation of human rights.
They say Zimbabwe is open for business, but it’s closed for human rights.” Biti called for fiscal discipline adding that “you can’t kill a rat and invite the whole village to eat it as if you have killed an elephant”.business times