BUSINESS and industry this week warned that the economy would further deteriorate if the country’s two major political parties which adjourned talks two week ago fail to find a lasting solution to the country’s prolonged crisis.
Its appears the economy has deteriorated further since the talks were suspended with prices of all goods and services increasing astronomically, companies and industries operations depressed as the dollar continues to lose value against major trading partners.
In an interview with businessdigest on Wednesday, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president, Callisto Jokonya, said business appeared to be in better shape before the talks started.
“Business is concerned with the delay of the talks and is appealing to politicians to consider the life of the 13 million people ahead of personal gains,” Jokonya said.
He added: “sanctions are real and business and people are now feeling their negative effects”.
“Talks must be finalised today and not a day later. Politicians must be moved by compassion and not power,” he said.
The talks were suspended when opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai refused to sign the document saying he needed time to reflect.
“We cannot wait and say it is business as usual, when industry and business is collapsing. There will never be a solution without the two parties sitting down and finding a lasting economic and political solution,” he said.
Jokonya said it was not time for both parties to exchange bitter words.
“The (economic and political) solution must be drafted locally because it is the locals who are affected. No one will help Zimbabwe when we are divided,” Jokonya said.
Jokonya said he was not shifting blame to any political party as CZI had not seen the document that both parties were supposed to sign.
Business and indusrty are clinging to the hope that the positive outcome of the talks would signal the turnaround of the economy.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president, Obert Sibanda, said failure of the talks could signal a very dark chapter in Zimbabwe’s businesses and life of the ordinary man on the street.
“It is critical that the parties reach a consensus. There should reach a point were they agree for the revival of the country,” Sibanda said.
He said failure of the talks would condemn Zimbabwe’s economy to levels that might be very difficult to revive.
By Paul Nyakazeya/Thando Mpofu