Minister of Industry and Commerce Dr Mike Bimha has said that one of the most effective ways of delivering a sustained improvement in the business environment is to improve the effectiveness of public-private dialogue and advocacy during an Business Member Organisation (BMOs) meeting in Harare today.
Bimha, who was addressing captains of industry and commerce said that promoting a substantive, evidence based, inclusive dialogue and advocacy allows local businesses to set their own reform priorities and identify solutions to the business environment constraints.
“In order to improve our business environment, I would urge all our BMOs to embrace the spirit of dialogue, and to speak with one voice when engaging any Government arm,” said Bimha.
“Speaking with one voice improves the way businesses consult each other and advance the effectiveness of advocacy.”
On a side interview the Minister of Industry and Commerce however said that the decision for the private sector to merge is not from the government.
“You can still have a single voice of business without merging,” Bimha said. “Merging is one platform, you can merge as a way to effective voice, but you can also organise yourselves in such a way that you represent the various players in business but without merging.”
“So the choice of merging or not merging is not really what the government is talking about. What we are saying to private sector is that organise yourselves in such a way that you are a vibrant organisation, a formidable organisation that represents all, how you it is a question of your deliberations.”
Bimha said that indications from the meeting with organisations show that they are many ways of speaking with one voice.
The private sector is one record saying that the government is not engaging all stakeholders on policy making
Captains of Industry and Commerce have in the past said that the government is not inclusive on engaging the private sector.
President of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) is on record saying, “The mindset of our government has not been very inclusive. They go around and they negotiate trade agreements and so on and simply go ahead and sign without really getting everyone involved,”
President of the Association of SADC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Oswell Dinha also in the past said, “they (government) don’t engage, they actually cherry pick. If there is any issues they (government) are of interest to you and they want to be seen to have engaged, they will invite Elisha and Elisha makes a contribution for them the private sector has made it,(sik).
Bimha said in a side interview that there is need for an organisation that represent the business associations.
“If you have 500 organisations coming to my office and I talk to them I don’t know what is the voice of business so what we would like to see is where we feel comfortable that it represents the interests of the entire business associations of Zimbabwe.”