BULAWAYO mayor Martin Moyo has expressed disappointment with exhibitors at the annual trade showcase for preferring to hire companies based outside the city to provide various services such as stand designing.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Moyo said Bulawayo-based companies were not benefiting from the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) as exhibitors were shunning them, a development he said defeated efforts on enhancing the ease of doing business.
The mayor said local companies were supposed to be the biggest beneficiaries of the ZITF — which began on Tuesday and ends today — as the host city.
“Meanwhile, we continue to search for ways to create a more conducive business environment for investors in the spirit of enhancing our business communities’ competitiveness, productivity and efficiency.
“It is, therefore, disappointing to note that a number of exhibitors from outside Bulawayo have engaged companies outside the city to titivate and dress their exhibition space at the expense of local companies,” Moyo said.
The 58th edition of the ZITF is being held under the theme Harnessing Linkages for Industrial Development and was officially opened by Namibian President Hage Geingob yesterday.
Moyo added: “It goes without saying that this is obviously very costly — an unnecessary expense that adds significantly to the cost of doing business. It also defeats government initiatives and concerted efforts to enhance the ease of doing business. This calls for self-introspection in terms of costing for services in our country.”
Black empowerment lobby group, the Affirmative Action Group — in its overview of this years’ ZITF — also noted concern that Bulawayo companies were not benefiting as several exhibitors preferred service providers from outside the city.
Several companies have either downsized, closed shop or relocated from Bulawayo, turning the city’s industrial area into a ghost town.
Fourteen foreign countries exhibited at this year’s ZITF, down from last year’s 19. Some of the countries that are exhibiting include Botswana, China, Ethiopia, Germany, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Turkey.