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CZR On Relaxation Of Lockdown Regulations

Mutashu CZR president

By President Denford Mutashu/Newsdesk
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers has noted with great concern the negative ramifications the Covid-19 pandemic and successive lockdowns have had on business and the general public.
It has gradually becoming norm that business and the general public bear the brunt of the pandemic without effective interventions in an environment where domestic resources are competing largely with greater support towards the fight against Covid19 and save the citizenry.
Another biggest challenge is business fighting Covid-19 amidst an internal fight for its own survival where operating hours have been reduced to 08:00hrs to 15:00hrs while a curfew ensues from 6pm to 6am following day.
Movement of goods and services is also currently slow due to roadblocks and business has to comply.
As CZR we are proposing the extension of business hours from 8am to 16:30 hours while curfew hours be extended from 20:00 hours to 5am as this will go a long way to injecting life in the already struggling businesses.
The fight against Covid-19 is not a walk in the park and general citizenry has to be mindful of the prevailing situation.
However, during the ongoing fight, it is imperative to ensure that people and the economy do not die while stakeholder engagement remains key on coming up with lockdown modalities. We have received numerous distress calls by business and the trend is getting worrisome.
Local authorities have also increased shop license fees like while tollgate fees have shot up and at the end of the day fixed and non-fixed costs are piling misery on business.
We therefore call upon the President, His Excellency Cde E D Mnangagwa to intervene and save businesses from collapsing.
The plight of business has been exacerbated by landlords who have continued to demand rentals during these successive lockdowns while others have even increased by more than 30% to closed businesses.
Most businesses have been reporting losses in revenue of more than 30% during the current lockdown and business has diminished its resolve and capacity to pull resources towards emergencies like the Covid-19 fight.
As CZR we continue to be available for dialogue on such critical issues and appraise Government and the ruling party on what is really happening on the economic landscape for example on the recent price hikes in the market.
We are happy that the President has noted our concern with regards to the issue of VAT on Rice and promised to help find a lasting solution. We therefore urge continued policy clarity and consistency on such and many issues that have detrimental effect on business confidence.
Government and business need to continue working together to lessen the plight of citizenry whose majority is captured by informal trade which constitute more than 65% of the economy.

Robert Tapfumaneyi