NEWLY appointed Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube on Wednesday met a group of high-profile executives in Harare, in his first public act since assuming office this week.
The former African Development Bank chief economist and vice president has perhaps the most challenging task of the 20 ministers appointed to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Cabinet and is expected to immediately confront an acute foreign currency crisis as well as a massive budget deficit, among other pressing problems.
Wednesday’s meeting was attended by fifty executives from a wide range of top companies in key sectors of the economy, according to a press release.
Issues raised by industry include the high cost of funding, the foreign currency shortage, high import tax, the uncompetitive business environment and bureaucracy.
In response, Ncube undertook to incorporate the business executives’ proffered solutions to a range of problems as he crafts his economic policy.
Multinationals, Anglo American, British American Tobacco, Old Mutual, Zimplats, Total, Lafarge, Standard Chartered, Stanbic, Nebank, Ecobank and FastJet were represented at the meeting.
Major Zimbabwean corporations, including Econet, Delta, CBZ, Innscor and Meikles, market leaders in their segments, were also represented, as were major industry bodies, the Chamber of Mines and the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries.
Ncube is expected to present his maiden budget in the next eight weeks, although he is expected to bring his influence to bear in a monetary policy statement scheduled for the end of September.