STATE-OWNED telecoms operator TelOne has reduced the interest rate it had been charging on outstanding bills for businesses backdating to 2009 to 0,04%, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) official has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
The interest rate was 3%.
Early this year, ZNCC Bulawayo branch engaged TelOne calling it to freeze all outstanding bills backdating to 2009, adding the 3% interest rate charged on them was choking businesses.
Branch chairman Golden Muoni told NewsDay in an interview that TelOne took heed and reduced the interest rate.
“As a business, obviously cost is something which sometimes in this environment affects our businesses. All the businesses they benefited really on that engagement that we did with TelOne,” Muoni said.
“So, it’s benefiting because you are reducing the cost of doing business. It helps for you to increase your profitability because cost drives the business to unprofitability. The more your costs are increasing, the lesser you are making profit.”
Muoni said it was the desire of every businessperson to reduce the cost of doing business in Zimbabwe’s environment, where businesses have been stagnant for almost 20 years.
“By looking into each and every cost drivers, TelOne being one of those and you look at the city council, Zesa and any other cost that affecting business needs to be looked at, so that at least at the current situation where Zimbabwe has not been making progress, so that businesses are starting surviving and grow their businesses,” he
Muoni said the chamber would engage Zesa, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, among others.
“These are some of the organisations which need to be looked at in terms of their services. Zimra, especially the delays at the border, which if a truck comes from South Africa either with raw material, finished goods or machines on average, we can look at 10 days. Their system sometimes is down. So we need to continuously engage with service providers so that our businesses are not affected in any way,” he said.
“We also need to get Zesa. Zesa has been pushing for tariff increases and if you look at that, we are not able to export in the region and beyond, the reason being our products are very expensive due to high cost of power in the region.”
He said their machinery was ageing, hence consuming more power.
“So if you have old machines versus the increased tariffs, then you add those together, it means you are going to have the end product being expensive compared to other countries like China and European countries. When they bring in their products here, they would be cheaper regardless of the transport cost which has been put on and duty,” Muoni said.
Zimbabwean companies have a higher cost build-up, which makes local products uncompetitive.