Business, govt must join hands on COVID-19: Chanakira

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

BUSINESS mogul and founder of the now-defunct Kingdom Bank, Nigel Chanakira, says business must amend its business continuity plans to work with government over the coronavirus (COVID-19) amid recently confirmed cases.

According to American financial and economic website, Investopedia, business continuity planning is the process of creating a system of prevention and recovery from potential threats to a company.

The plan ensures that personnel and assets are protected and can function quickly in the event of a disaster.

“Please, may all businesspeople seriously consider pulling out or make or amend their business continuity plans. This coronavirus is already wreaking unprecedented havoc and now that it has officially hit our land, we have much to think about given the parlous state of our health system,” Chanakira said in a recent
tweet.

“And don’t get too carried away with the thoughts that you can fly out as a preventative measure and or treatment measure, we have to seriously think of working with what we have and don’t have. No better time to collaborate with government to fix things now.”

He said business and government needed to strategise around, among other things, staff safety and welfare, business continuity, supply chain disruptions, demand and production rationalisation, potential economic downturns and appropriate mitigation strategies (domestic, regional and global).

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Chanakira added that both government and business needed to strategise around medical aid and health insurance coverage and impacts.

Zimbabwe last week announced two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, but Harare mayor Herbert Gomba wrote on his Twitter handle that the country now had three confirmed cases.

The effect of the coronavirus is already taking its toll on Zimbabwe’s imports, tourism and consumer spending.

The need for government and business to work together comes from the fact that 200 entities control half the country’s liquidity.

Last Friday, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) conducted a snap survey on the effects of COVID-19 on industry and the response plan they had come up with to deal with the challenges.

“I am meeting the permanent secretary shortly to discuss the response plan of industry to the coronavirus and I cannot share that with the public yet until it is approved by the Ministry of Health,” CZI chief executive officer Sekai Kuvarika told NewsDay Business yesterday.

Last week, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya revealed that it was working closely with financial service providers and other stakeholders to monitor and take appropriate precautionary measures to support the economy.

“In order to ensure that banking and payment services continue to be available at all times, while promoting crowd containment and social distancing, financial service providers should ensure uninterrupted access to online banking and payment services including point-of-sale, international payments, real time gross settlement, mobile banking, mobile money payments and remittance services,” Mangudya said in a statement.

“The banking and transacting public is encouraged to optimise use of available electronic and online banking services which remain the safest and most secure forms of transacting.”

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