President Emmerson Mnangagwa will meet members of the business community at State House in Harare tomorrow for a “predominantly interactive” session that seeks to tap industry’s views as Government shapes its vision for the future.

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Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet (Presidential Communications) Mr George Charamba told our Harare Bureau yesterday that the meeting represented the beginning of “intensive interaction” between Government and business.

“On Monday morning, His Excellency the President is hosting the business community — bankers and industrialists — to a breakfast meeting at State House. This is the beginning of intensive interaction between the President and various economic players as the country works to recover the economy in line with the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP),” said the Presidential spokesperson.

“The meeting will be predominantly interactive. The President wants to get the thinking of the business community in respect of the broad policies Government has spelt out and in respect to the recent measures taken to stabilise the supply of goods on the local market,” he said.

Businesses have become increasingly fretful after Cabinet decided to suspend Statutory Instrument 122, which restricts imports of certain goods that can be produced locally.

The intervention is meant to cover the supply gaps of basic commodities on the market after retailers failed to meet panic-induced consumer demand.

Although business acknowledges that Government acted in the best interest of consumers, who were buffeted by shortages of basic commodities and extortionately high prices, they are currently seeking assurances that the intervention is temporary.

Industry representative bodies are pushing for the expeditious implementation of a Local Content Policy that will insulate businesses from the influx of cheap goods.

Government has already indicated that the policy — which will compel local and central Government, including public entities, to procure locally where the capacity exists — will be launched before year-end.

President Mnangagwa, who often says he is a listening President, will be having his second interface with business representatives this year.

On January 18, the Head of State and Government met the Zimbabwe Business Club, a private organisation made up of business people and captains of industry.

Government is trying to rally all stakeholders to invest in Vision 2030, which is premised on building an upper middle-income economy in the next 12 years.

The TSP has been launched by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube as a roadmap to guide economic development from October this year to December 2020.

It will be succeeded by two five-year economic programmes that will run through 2030.

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