Aggressive forex generation should address shortages

October 7, 2021

LIVINGSTONE MARUFU

 

Confederation of Zimbabwe (CZI) president Kurai Matsheza has two solutions to the forex challenges crippling the economy: grow more exports and reduce the forex demand through consumption of local products.

The industrialist, who took over the reins of the organisation in August, said improved production will extricate the economy from the forex blues. He took over from Henry Ruzvidzo who was at the helm of CZI for the past two years.

“Broadly speaking the forex challenges of Zimbabwe should be solved by generating more forex from growing exports and also reducing forex demand by consuming more locally manufactured products,” Matsheza told Business Times.

“This means we will be strengthening, supporting, deepening and widening value chains, Zimbabwe will manufacture/ produce more of its requirements hence lowering the import burden and also grow exports by generating forex.”

Zimbabwe is currently grappling with foreign currency shortages amid indications that the local industry is operating below 50% due to limited investment. The foreign currency shortages is forcing companies to source for the greenback on the parallel market thereby pushing up the cost of production.

Companies are also reeling from the effects of the Covid-19 induced lockdown which restricted the movement of goods in and out of the country.

Matsheza said value chains have got to drive the industry’s manufacturing base and CZI has to map the anchor value chains for our economy and build a strong manufacturing industry and strong competitive manufacturing industry will generate exports, create jobs and contribute to the growth of the Zimbabwe economy.

For this to happen, key enablers such as infrastructure must be in place, he said.

The executive admitted that his tenure began at a “very difficult point in time when the global economy and indeed that of Zimbabwe has been disturbed and disrupted by Covid-19”.

“The effects and threats of future waves of Covid on  business and Zimbabwe as we drive towards vision 2030 are factors that need to be considered/managed in order to maintain momentum. As business and during my tenure alignment to the ‘vision’ is critical and will be sustained as this leads to the growth our economy(and country Zimbabwe),” he said.

The man is not new to CZI as he has been involved with CZI activities for over 12 years and served as vice president from 2010 to 2012. Matsheza was also CZI Manicaland Region president from 2007 to 2009 and chaired the CZI Energy and Environment committee from 2013.

The executive said CZI has been and will continue to be the voice of business (mainly manufacturing/processing) in engaging with authorities on policy dialogue that support and enable the growth of the Zimbabwe economy.

“Challenges have always been there, moreso for the past 2 decades, but generally some of  views of CZI have been broadly listened to in charting the way forward for our economy,” the executive told Business Times.

He wants to increase the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP. The sector’s contribution has been halved to 10% from 20% owing to challenges besetting the sector such as power cuts and foreign currency shortages.

“Manufacturing has to play a role in Zimbabwe achieving an upper middle income by 2030 by uplifting its contribution to GDP, growing exports and manufactured goods and creating jobs,” said Matsheza who was as a National Council member chairing the Energy and Environment Committee before the elevation.

He said the manufacturing sector is facing challenges. But, these would be overcome.

“The challenges are always there. Humanity will always prevail in the face of adversity. Some of the issues are being attended to(envisioning the future; 2030)and some are still work in progress(enabling environment and supporting infrastructure),” Matsheza said.

He said development and growth is a process while getting the direction is the first step.

“I strongly believe that with proper alignment and commitment to vision 2030, the future of manufacturing will be better. Impediments are there and will always be there, but the goal will be achieved; growth in GDP contribution,” said the industrialist who is deputised by Wattle Company MD Victiria Jakazi and Mucha Mkanganwi, The Pulse group founder and CEO.

Matsheza boasts of over 20 years of experience of working in the mining, trading and manufacturing industries. He is currently he is the Manica Boards and Doors (Pvt)Ltd managing director.

He previously sat on the boards of RioZim and Pungwe Breweries & Marketing.

The executive has a BSc Mechanical Engineering degree from University of Zimbabwe, an MBL from UNISA and he did an Executive Programme with IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Matsheza said he will continue to support CZI activities in whatever role  he  will be asked to carry.

The CZI chief likes playing squash,  golf, reading books on philosophy, business and  travelling during his  spare time.

The executive gets inspiration from nature and everyday life observations.

“To make a positive impact on the next person’ s life. Listening to what the other person is saying(and also not saying),” he said.

One of his favourite books is Making Africa Work by Greg Mills etal which he said made him understand the issues drawing developing countries back.

The other book, Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu & James A Robinson, helps him to understand the art of winning.

Matsheza said the Must-Win Battles by Peter Killing etal is a book for the  leaders who want to cut through an array of uncoordinated initiatives, and bring focus and renewed energy to their organisations. He sees the book as a source of encouragement in fighting the challenges that the industry is facing.

His favourite quote is “Successful teams harness the skills and abilities of all their members’-Natural Teamwork; Lessons from Nature.

Matsheza is also inspired by Nelson Mandela’s quote which says, “It always seems impossible until it’s done”.

While work is cut out for the executive, his constituency look up to him. CZI described  Matsheza as a “seasoned industrialist, visionary and forward thinking business leader who applies systems thinking for results”. It described the executive as a “solution finder” with a keen sense of the “big picture”.

 

 

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