Zimbabwe: Business Welcomes Relaxation

The business sector has welcomed the relaxation of Covid-19 induced lockdown measures and noted the new regulations will give the economy breathing space and a restart.

President Mnangagwa this week announced a new set of Covid-19 mitigatory restrictions, which effectively reopened the economy having previously curtailed normal activities at the beginning of the year in response to a spike in Covid-19 cases and deaths.

Although the President effectively returned the country to near normal, he still retained some measures in a bid to ensure the country does not recede into a third wave.

It is against this backdrop that players in the business sector have lauded the President and Government for the way it has handled the Covid-19 pandemic.

Business, thus expects a rebound from the new window of opportunity as some them indicated could fail to reopen.

The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) said the vaccination programme being rolled by Government has further boosted the country's recovery prospect.

The chamber has previously noted its willingness to partake in the purchasing of vaccines to augment Government efforts. The Government received some doses from China that have been administered to mainly people in essential services.

"For business it is a welcome respite which the Government has done to save the economy . . . " said ZNCC president Dr Tinashe Manzungu.

"The vaccines and treatments have brought much hope, and additional policy support can lead to a quicker resumption of economic activity. Yes the pick up in economic activity will be uneven because different sectors have been affected differently," he said.

Dr Manzungu also appealed to Government to consider support to business in a bid to accelerate the revival.

He noted that the reopening of the economic space locally comes at a time when the country's biggest trading partner, South Africa, is also reopening its economic space thus boosting prospects of interaction between the two neighbours.

South Africa remains Zimbabwe's major trading partner in the region.

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR), said the scrapping of exemption letters will go a long way in opening up the economic space.

"CZR welcomes the balanced review of the lockdown by His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa which focuses on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic while opening up the economy," said CZR president Mr Denford Mutashu.

"The measured lockdown extension has eased business operations and CZR is of the strong view that this will play a significant role in injecting life into various businesses.

"The fact that the exemption letters are no longer required is a great move towards smoothening movement of essential service providers and goods and services," said Mr Mutashu.

Mr Mutashu also noted that the reopening of bottles stores, for takeaways, is a welcome relief to breweries and the "over 20 000" bottle stores doted across the country.

Going forward, Mr Mutashu appealed to Government to consider a stimulus package for the informal sector and SMEs who have been the worst hit by the Covid-19 mitigatory measures.

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