LEADING manufacturers and players in the service industry dominated this year’s Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) awards.
Conglomerate Unilever South East Africa, Grain Marketing Board (GMB), spirits manufacturer African Distillers (Afdis) and dairy products producer DZL Holdings were honoured by the chamber as the top companies for 2006 in various categories in Harare on Monday.
Small to medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) like Kalamazoo, Extra Care Manufacturers and Chroma Paints also scooped awards at the ceremony, which was snubbed by heads of companies or were represented by junior officials.
The ZNCC annual awards honour outstanding individual and corporate contributions to the economy by examining corporate social responsibility programmes, export competitiveness, employee health and welfare and other areas but observers say the organisation could be improved.
Zimbabwe stock exchange-listed spirits manufacturer Afdis, which won the Exporter of the Year, award did not show up.
Premier Service Medical Aid Society chief executive officer Cuthbert Dube, who scooped the Businessman of the Year award, also failed to turn up, sending instead, his juniors.
Barclays Bank, which was honoured for HIV and Aids prevention programmes at the function ahead of Unilever was also represented by juniors.
Dube was honoured for turning around the health insurer into a more stable outfit after previously posting a string of losses.
However, observers said there was an anomaly in the awards because Dube competed with SMEs’ managers, a situation that gave him advantages.
Analysts said the ZNCC has failed to run the event by mixing SMEs and listed companies to compete in the same categories, a situation that had seen the event lose the confidence of competitors.
“The Zimbabwe Institute of Management (ZIM) has categorised its awards into the manager of the year private sector, manager of the year public services, manager of the year SMEs and the young manager of the year after realising that big players previously dominated the list of winners,” said an analyst.
He said the chamber should consider taking the same path to come up with a true representation of winners of the event, which allocates acres of space to motivational speakers than discussing critical issues affecting the economy.
Others who were honoured at the low-key function include PG Industries CEO Nyasha Zhou and Nicoz Diamond head Grace Muradzikwa as businessman and businesswoman of the year in 2005 respectively.
Zhou was credited for turning around PG, which went through a rough patch in 2004 as high gearing levels exposed the company to rising interest rates.