OK Zimbabwe pleads with Ncube and Mnangagwa’s son to resolve currency crisis
The country’s leading retailer and Zimbabwe Stock exchange-listed group OK Zimbabwe has pleaded with the new cabinet to put effective measures to resolve the currency crisis.
After winning the 2023 harmonised general elections, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced his new cabinet which saw Professor Mthuli Ncube retaining his post as Finance Minister. The President also appointed his son Kudakwashe David Mnangagwa as Ncube’s deputy.
The two academically decorated Ministers are expected to resolve the economic and financial problems the country has been facing for over five years since Mnangagwa assumed power during the 2017 military coup which ousted late former President Robert Mugabe.
OK Zimbabwe said it is on its knees as it witnessed a decline in sales volumes due to the rise of the informal shops and currency volatility.
According to its latest trading update, the retailer has suffered an 8% drop in sales volumes from last year till March also due to the impact of the informal traders and low disposable income.
“Our major issue is the currency framework. With the passing of the elections and a new Cabinet being set, we really look forward to resolving this issue for the country to put us on a footing of assured stability,” said Max Karombo, the CEO of the group.
The group also lamented the case of untamed hyperinflation and multi-tier exchange rate distortions affecting pricing strategies.
“Around 20% of the company’s sales are in USD, which lags the wide usage of USD in the market. This is because OK has to convert prices from ZWL to USD at formal official rates, which makes their USD prices high,”
Renowned economist Tinashe Murapata, however, said it was “dangerous” for OK Zimbabwe to blame the informal sector while avoiding telling authorities who enforce regulations the truth.
“It’s dangerous for formal business to blame the informal sector for their woes,” he said.
“Informal sector is a direct result of monetary and economy wide mismanagement.
“Be brave and address the problem and not attack the small trader trying to eke out a living. Or don’t be brave and don’t blame the little guy with no national voice.
“It’s like banking institutions blaming bed manufacturers for abating customers now keeping money under their mattresses.
“Can you honestly blame bed manufacturers for including a money pocket in their beds?
“Imagine banks accusing The National Mattress Bank of being unregulated and not paying the 2% transfer tax”.
Despite the cited challenging environment, OK Zimbabwe plans to expand and renovate its branch networks and recently opened a new Bon Marche store in Marondera and bought the Three Food Lovers Franchise.