Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Debate Sharpens Over Zimbabwe Economic Policy
January 1, 2015
Opinion & Analysis
Zimbabwe Herald

Government and economic stakeholders are working on addressing the Doing Business Environment in a bid to create a conducive environment that encourages local and foreign investment, but lack of clarity on the indigenisation law seems to be negatively affecting these efforts.

If properly pursued, efforts to improve the business climate will translate into creation of employment and sustainable economic growth.

However, we are concerned that lack of a common voice from Government on some aspects of the indigenisation policy will work against these efforts. We say this in light of the seemingly differing positions on reforms relating to the indigenisation law.

While we applaud Acting President Mnangagwa’s pronouncement that Government would announce new policies that are more biased towards relaxation, we are, however, concerned that some senior Government officials have made contrasting statements on the indigenisation policy.

Only two days after VP Mnangagwa made such an encouraging statement, the nation was taken aback after Indigenisation Minister Christopher Mushohwe said there will be no review of the empowerment law.

These contradicting positions will certainly affect Government’s efforts to turnaround the economy and the successful implementation of Zim-Asset.

Which position should the nation follow in this case? Which position should investors use to make decisions? Whom should business follow? This is why we call on Government to clarify the indigenisation law so that we have one voice and one position. It is uncalled for to have differing policy pronouncements from the same leadership in a space of one month.

This will give impetus to our detractors.

The indigenisation laws are part of the bigger scheme relating to the Doing Business Environment. Therefore, the law should not be implemented in isolation of other investment policies. Now that Government, together with development partners, is addressing the Doing Business Environment, it is an opportunity that we should take to synchronise our policies. If the review is to affect other economic policies, the indigenisation law should not be an exception. This is why Acting President Mnangagwa’s pronouncement should carry the day as it is in line with the plethora of reforms the Government is undertaking to improve the business environment.

This is in the spirit of encouraging investment, resuscitating industry and the manufacturing sector with a view to creating employment in line with Zim-Asset.

That is the spirit that should dictate Government policies in the New Year.

This does not mean that we should do away with indigenisation. Not at all, the policy is here to stay. But there are some concerns relating to the law which make investment difficult. Acting President Mnangagwa correctly said that the review to be announced early this year will make investment easy.

We call on Government to steadfastly and speedily announce the new policy measures referred to by the Acting President.

It is not the indigenisation law only that requires attention. Acting President Mnangagwa mentioned that part of the measures included doing away with bureaucracy to speed up investment.

Our economy requires injection of new money to address the liquidity crunch.

The economy continues to be dragged down by liquidity shortages, antiquated plant and machinery, cheap imports and high cost of production. Significant investment into the economy is needed for re-tooling, re-capitalisation and overhaul of the antiquated machinery, and for value addition.

Given the need to continue improving our investment climate in light of the need for both domestic and foreign investment, the 2015 Budget needs to further provide clarity on our Indigenisation and Empowerment Framework.

This will ensure consistency and predictability in Government’s engagement with stakeholders and investors.

We, therefore, need to look at all the investment policies to align them to international best practices. No nation can succeed in isolation.

Therefore, Government’s sustained efforts to clarify the indigenisation law will provide the catalyst for new investment.

Clarity of economic policies steers growth and opens a nation to investment, both local and foreign.

Investment laws give guidelines and direction which potential investors both local and foreign can use to make investment decisions. No investor, existing or new, will take a position before first understanding the investment environment.

Already Government has instructed the downward review of key cost drivers that have a bearing on the country’s pricing structure.

A recent Cost Drivers Analysis of our economy showed that the nation’s international trade flow and its composition point towards a sustained loss of competitiveness.

Indeed 2015 looks set to bring good tidings for this country, but the onus is on Government and all stakeholders to actively pursue policies and strategies that will make this possible.

Foreigners ’lucky to get 49% ownership in Zimbabwe’ – Mushowe

24th ⁄ December ⁄ 2014

Harare – Zimbabwe’s new Indigenisation Minister Christopher Mushowe says foreign investors are “very lucky” to get 49 percent shares in businesses they have set up, the Herald newspaper reported on Wednesday.

In his first comments on President Robert Mugabe’s indigenisation policy since his appointment earlier this month, Mushowe said: “In fact 49 percent is the maximum for foreign shareholding and 51 percent is the minimum or indigenous holding.”

Under the laws, whites and foreigners are obliged to arrange for locals to take over 51 percent of large companies they own.

Critics say the regulations, which came into effect in 2010, scare away foreign investment.

“So it’s not cast in concrete that it’s 49 percent, it can be one percent because it is the maximum and 51 percent can be 99 percent because it’s the minimum,” the indigenisation minister reportedly said.

Mushowe’s comments appeared to be in direct response to hints from new Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa earlier this week that the authorities would “relax” indigenisation laws.

Would-be investors have previously criticised the government for sending out conflicting signals on indigenisation.

Mushowe replaced former indigenisation minister Francis Nhema who was sacked as part of Mugabe’s ongoing purge of ruling Zanu-PF party officials linked to Joice Mujuru, Zimbabwe’s first ever female vice president, who was sacked for allegedly trying to oust the president.

She and her allies deny the charge.


2014 business round up

January 1, 2015 in Business

IT’S a miracle that the economy did not completely shut down in 2014 as political leaders had other pressing matters: fighting for positions.


The leaders did not give priority to the economy lending credence to claims by Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli that politics have no relation to morals. The amount of effort and resources deployed to decimate former Vice President Joice Mujuru and her allies would have been enough to steer the economy to double digit growth rates.

NewsDay gives a rundown of some of the highlights of the difficult 2014.

CEOs smile all the way to the bank

There was uproar at the beginning of the year amid revelations CEOs of parastatals and state-owned entities were earning super salaries at a time the entities were failing to offer basic services.

The Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS)—though it is not a parastatal—stirred the hornet’s nest when it emerged that former CEO Cuthbert Dube’s salary and allowances was over $500 000 when the society was failing to provide services to subscribers.

Government recently said salaries would be reviewed on a case by case basis looking at the performance of the economy.

Mega deals, then what?

In August, President Robert Mugabe and his delegation were in China where, according to state media, nine mega deals were signed. Similarly, a high powered Russian delegation was to visit Zimbabwe in which Moscow said it would pour $3 billion in a platinum venture in Darwendale. As the year came to an end yesterday, nothing has been said of those mega deals.

Send ‘em home

More than 5000 workers were retrenched in 2014 as companies struggled to stay afloat. According to the Confederation for Zimbabwe Industries, the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) stood at 43,5% this year, signalling that there is no respite to the economic decline. PMI above 50% means the manufacturing sector is growing and expanding. A PMI under 50% means the manufacturing sector is contracting.

The capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector shed 3,3 percentage points to 36,3%.

New broom, back to basics at RBZ

John Mangudya took over the reins at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) smoking the peace pipe. Mangudya went back to the basics saying the economy needed to stimulate production for economic recovery through pursuing consistent, transparent and predictable economic policy measures.

The tone of the statement was conciliatory as he sought broader support from all stakeholders to steer the economic ship out of troubled waters.

Weak banks find the going tough

Tetrad had to obtain a court order to ward off marauding creditors. At a scheme meeting in August, the creditors agreed to waive claims pending the recapitalisation of the bank.

The moratorium was further extended to January 31. RBZ responded by stopping the troubled bank from taking deposits and granting loans until it had finalised its recapitalisation initiative.

Capital Bank surrendered its banking licence after its major shareholder, the National Social Security (NSSA) said it had no money to recapitalise the institution. NSSA later applied for a building society licence.

No Zimdollar return, only bond coins

Two weeks ago, RBZ introduced bonded coins to alleviate the change shortages. Scepticism remains whether the introduction of the coins is not a step to retrieve from the grave the banished Zimbabwean dollar buried when the country adopted dollarisation in 2009.

When Zim charms the Bretton Woods

The International Monetary Fund reopened its Harare office since its closure nearly a decade ago. The Bretton Woods institution approved a successor to the Staff Monitored Programme on Zimbabwe saying the country had met the requirements in the initial supervised economic reform programme. This was a vote of confidence on a country by the IMF, widely considered as the international Commissioner of Oaths.

The World Bank said it would team up with other donors to set up the $100 million Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund to support the implementation of the country’s five-year economic blueprint.

Depressed consumer demand ushers in deflation

For the first time since the use of the multicurrency regime, Zimbabwe slipped into deflation in February as depressed consumer demand creeps in.

Zimbabwe slipped into deflation in February when year-on-year inflation shed 0,90 percentage points to -0,49% from the January statistics. It slipped out of deflation in July. It was back in deflation in October.

Rising NPLs jolts government into action

The banking sector has seen a rise in default rates since dollarisation with the ratio of non-performing loans (NPLs) peaking to 20,45% as at the end of September from 1,6% in 2009 amid fears that banks would cut on lending critically needed in the economy. The rising NPLs jolted government into action resulting in the creation of the Zimbabwe Asset Management Company designed to buy bad debts in the banking sector.

Finally, a CSD is in place

The Central Securities Depository (CSD) went live with three counters in September after several false starts, a move that would reduce the settlement of transactions on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange to five from seven days.

CSD is a facility for holding and administering securities, as well as enabling transactions to be processed by means of book entry. It aims to further reduce the settlement of transactions to T+3 (transaction plus three days) by June next year. To date, 43 out of 66 counters have been on-boarded with CSD.

As easy as ABC

In April a company led by ex-Barclays Plc chief executive officer Bob Diamond and entrepreneur billionaire Ashish Thakkar announced that it would buy pan African banking group BancABC as it bids to establish a premier company in Sub Saharan Africa.

The deal was completed in August, a record time considering that the Essar deal consummated in 2011 is still to be implemented!

BancABC founding CEO Douglas Munatsi, chief operating officer Francis Dzanya and chief finance officer Beki agreed to leave the banking group last month after the acquisition by Atlas Mara.

Could next year be Zim’s watershed?

December 19, 2014 in Comment, Opinion

Following recent changes to cabinet, including the appointment of two new vice-presidents and seven cabinet members, is Zimbabwe poised for a watershed year in 2015 or will it be more of the same?

The Ritesh Anand Column

President Robert Mugabe last week announced significant changes to government in the aftermath of the ruling Zanu PF’s congress. With party politics now placed to one side, can government focus on things that really matter to ordinary people? Will the focus be turned to the economy, investment, job creation and economic development?

The current situation is that Zimbabwe faces significant headwinds as the global economy slows and commodity prices weaken further. Last week I dealt with the dramatic fall in oil prices and the impact that it is likely to have on Zimbabwe.

These positive effects could be offset by a weaker commodity prices. Government has the opportunity to turn the economy around, but requires significant focus, dedication, commitment and energy.

The new ministers certainly have their work cut out as Zimbabwe’s economy sinks gradually into recession. The key challenge for 2015 will be the economy. Over the last three years economic growth has waned and Zimbabwe risks slipping into a recession in 2015.

While I believe that the government’s economic blueprint, ZimAsset, is a good long-term investment plan, what Zimbabwe needs is a short-term economic recovery plan. In the short-term, Zimbabwe needs to focus on turning the economy around and restoring business confidence.

We need to find ways to stimulate growth and economic activity. This means we need to develop strategies to boost investor confidence. The year 2015 could easily be a watershed year for Zimbabwe if we shift the focus away from politics and turn our attention instead to the economy and restoring international relations.

Key targets for 2015 should include:

Target 6% to 8% GDP growth annually over the next five years;

Target over US$1 billion annually in foreign direct investment over the next five years;

Restore domestic and foreign investor confidence;

Policy clarity, consistency and predictability to attract investment long-term capital;

Restore relations with international creditors and investors especially in the West;

Mineral development strategy: in light of falling commodity prices, Zimbabwe needs to think carefully about the mining sector. I suspect a number of mining companies will fail in 2015 if mineral prices continue to fall especially in the gold sector.

Government should focus on mining development as well as making existing mines more efficient. This includes attracting investment in new equipment and technology to lower costs;

Financial sector stability: this includes restoring confidence in the central bank, consolidation in the banking sector, especially among weaker local banks;

Reducing the trade deficit: government needs to focus on export development while containing imports. This can be achieved through encouraging investment in export-related sectors through the establishment of Special Economic Zones as well as providing export incentives for existing companies;

Debt strategy: government needs to think carefully about how best to deal with Zimbabwe’s outstanding debts. The first step would be to settle it’s debt of around US$142 million with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This will allow for greater support from IMF and provide the platform for a more comprehensive debt solution;

Commitment to multi-currency system: government has so far remained steadfast in its commitment to maintaining the multi-currency regime.

Despite recent speculation following the introduction of bond coins, there is no reason to believe that government would consider bringing back the Zimbabwe dollar. History suggests that it is very difficult for a country to go back to a local currency post-dollarisation. I will dedicate an entire column to this debate next year as well as explore the options;

Clarity and transparency on indigenisation: There is need to rebrand/repackage the indigenisation policy to make it more user-friendly and/ or acceptable to foreign investors. We need to simplify the plan and provide greater transparency and accountability; and

Sensible investment policy: Zimbabwe desperately needs a sensible investment policy. I have talked about this a number of times. We need to develop an all-embracing investment policy and create a favourable environment for investment. We need to respect property rights and focus on rebranding Zimbabwe as a safe destination for investment.

This requires significant political will and commitment.

We all know that Zimbabwe has tremendous potential and many Zimbabweans both at home and abroad have waited patiently for a better future. We owe it to ourselves as well as future generations to build a better future for Zimbabwe.

Government has a responsibility to assist its people in realising their dreams, hopes and aspirations. Next year could well be a watershed year for Zimbabwe, if and only if, there is greater focus on the economy.

Zimbabwe's political landscape undergoes major changes as economy remains subdued in 2014

Dec 30,2014
by Tichaona Chifamba

HARARE, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe's political scene in 2014 was rattled by the abrupt dismissal of more than a dozen cabinet members led by the country's longtime vice president Joice Mujuru as a fierce battle to succeed Africa's oldest leader -- veteran president Robert Mugabe -- over overshadowed efforts to put the country's ailing economy back on the rails.

Mujuru's dismissal presented its own firsts -- being the first vice president in the history of the country to be fired; being the first former vice president to be investigated for criminal activities; and that for the first time since independence in 1980, the country has a living former vice president.

All the other former Vice Presidents -- Joshua Nkomo, Simon Muzenda, Joseph Msika and John Nkomo -- left office through death.

Police are now investigating her on allegations of corruption and abuse of power, while allegations of plotting to assassinate Mugabe have also been peddled. Police on Tuesday said they have found vital evidence after being given approval to search the former vice president's home.

For several years, Mugabe, who turns 91 in February 2015, watched as the drama over his succession unfolded. He would ban discussions over his succession and warn that factional leaders would be punished.

But the run-up to the party's congress in December took a heavy twist when the two camps vying to take over from him took off their gloves and began to hit each other below the belt. The camp led by new Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa scored a vital victory.

Mnangagwa's appointment as Mujuru's replacement was viewed by many as an endorsement by Mugabe that he should become the party and government's next leader.

However, as most people exerted their energies on the political dogfights in the governing party, the economy continued to bleed, liquidity challenges persisted and social services deteriorated, many companies closed down and many people lost their jobs.

Economists Vince Musewe, Luxon Zembe and Godfrey Kanyenze all agreed that one of the reasons the economy was not ticking was that government leaders were ensconced in party factional politics instead of working for the greater good of the nation.

The political uncertainty affected potential investors -- both foreign and local -- who opted to take a wait and see attitude hoping that the situation would play itself out, they said.

Musewe said that those who were fighting to get positions did not have a better plan for Zimbabwe and merely wished to benefit from their stations.

Cabinet ministers continued to issue conflicting policy statements, especially in relation to the indigenization policy, depending on which faction they had belonged to.

About 4,000 people had lost their jobs by the end of September as companies closed down because of the harsh economic environment.

The loss of income and a decline in disposable income for those still in employment also resulted in thousands of people falling into debt, with scores of families losing their homes, household property, office furniture and equipment and even clothes every month.

A number of prominent people, including lawyers, top businessmen and former governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Gideon Gono have recently had their properties either attached or auctioned to settle debts.

Economic growth, which had gone up to 5.7 percent at the formation of the inclusive government in 2009, has been declining since 2012, going down to 4.5 percent in 2013 and is projected to hit 3.1 percent this year.

Monetary authorities said foreign direct investment plunged to 65 million U.S. dollars in the first half of 2014 from 167 million dollars recorded during the same period last year to reach a new low since the economic meltdown which began in 2012.

Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe director Kanyenze said the country's economy had become a casualty of the political power games.

Zimbabwe: 2014 Road to Economic Growth #zim-Asset

Zimbabwe Herald

Very little is to be said of 2014 in terms of the economy. It was largely a year, which ends with a political climax. Cheap and long-term financing remained elusive for companies while aggregate demand and in tandem capacity utilisation continued to fall.

Because of this, inflation was mostly negative if you add in the rand factor and to the workers' salaries were less regular. Companies closed while the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange lost some listings. There was a huge growth in the informal market mostly in vending as any open pavement and traffic lights became a market place.

The politics of the economy!

As Zanu-PF was due to hold its elective congress early this month, attempts to induce momentum in the economy by way of implementing Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset) suffered major setbacks as factional politics within the ruling party took a centre stage ahead of congress.

While the real drama unfolded a few weeks before the congress, focus on the economy had shifted way back and this created uncertainty among businesses and investors.

Factional politics got in the way of investment deal approvals. It also was a major impediment in the implementation of the indigenisation laws.

In as much as Government puts forward clearly defined policies; the lack of proper guidelines for attaining economic growth, macro-economic dislocations, lack of continuity coupled with traces of political deception.

At the end of it all, Government managed to do away with two centres of power towards the end of the year with the sacking of several senior Government officials.

A renewed Government has to speak with one voice and be consistent with its policies. They should bring finality and closure on what they want to achieve with indigenisation, bearing in mind that this is not a concept new to Zimbabwe.

Trending for Government --#Zim-Assetsong

2014 was the first implementation year of Government's economic blueprint Zim-Asset. You can't coin it on the Eversharp like what school children used to do to ESAP back in the day but you can be rest assured that everyone knows about it. Knowing about it to the point that every success story became an endorsement of the blueprint!

Government talked about it at every opportunity. It is supposed to stir the country forward at an average growth of 7,2 percent per annum. Structural reforms are required in order to make this blueprint successful.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the economy should grow at 8 percent per annum for the next ten years if the country is to realise meaningful economic revival. He said GDP growth for 2014 was projected at 3,1 percent but the target could not be reached due to inherent liquidity shortages in the economy, coupled with low domestic savings, investment inflows and power supply deficits.

Minister Chinamasa said the projected 3,2 percent per annum growth for 2014 will not be enough for a robust economic revival. He said a stable macro-economic environment, coupled with planned investments in agriculture, mining, communication and other infrastructural projects, including power generation and housing, will among others, spur growth, forecast at about 3,2 percent for 2015.

Overall, the problem lies in linking up the vision with the reality on the ground and the first thing would be to identify the present state of the economy. The present state of the economy is none other than that of insignificant foreign direct investment and deep levels of collapse and degeneration of basic economic structures. And Government needs to be realistic about it.

What Zimbabwe needs is a cocktail of good fiscal and monetary policies in addition to local and foreign investment to jump start the economy. To stimulate local investments the Government's fiscal policy should address savings and to increase savings the cash strapped Government should lower taxes.

In order to improve FDI inflows Government should address ease of doing business issues and IEE laws and regulations.

Parastatals took centre stage at the beginning of the year with the PSMAS salary scandal being the most significant. Salaries of chief executive were capped but this was never implemented due to the nature of the contracts. Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa talked about reforming state-owned enterprises but this will only be reality next year following the setting up of a fund by the World Bank.

In 2014, a lot of grants and concessionary loans were signed with countries such as Sweden, Denmark, the European Union, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, Badea, Switzerland. The Staff Monitored Programme was extended with a successor programme having been okayed.

At the same time Government led by President Mugabe went on a trip to China where they unlocked commitment over various infrastructure deals. The Russians also came for the Darwendale Platinum project and expressed interest in Agriculture and Infrastructure. All this renewed momentum to the implementation of Zim-Asset.

Trending for companies -- #RestructuringAndRationalisation

You can also add reconfiguration. It all adds to the same thing. High operating and finance costs continued to chew up the little revenue coming into the coffers.

The economy suffered from serious liquidity shortages, compounded by low domestic savings, elusive foreign direct investment, company closures and power shortages.

The performance of mostly consumer facing companies such as Delta and OK Zimbabwe reflected the continuing squeeze on disposable

incomes in a shrinking economy. Even when prices of goods generally declined, consumer expenditure has not grown.

The manufacturing sector continued to be weighed down by old equipment, shortage of working capital and high labour costs. According to CZI, capacity utilisation dropped 3,3 percentage points, from 39,6 percent in 2013 to 36,3 percent in 2014.

A survey conducted by the Zimbabwe Economic Policy Analysis and Research Unit found that 63 percent of the companies identified access to finance as a "major constraint" to growth, with prohibitive borrowing costs cited as one of the major reasons. It is for the reasons mentioned above that the buzzwords in corporates became -- Rationalisation and Restructuring. Most of the companies undertook retrenchments while some downsized operations.

Nevertheless, there were some successful restructurings and reconfigurations. The re-opening of David Whitehead and the resilience of Cairns Holdings. Government is also making efforts to restore the central bank's functions. RBZ welcomed a new governor Dr John Mangudya replacing Dr Gideon Gono. He has little to work with but in just seven months he has managed to set up bad-loans buying company ZAMCO and has also introduced bond coins. BancABC was bought by Atlas Mara for about $265 million in April in the company's first African acquisition. Hwange is yet to show but they have also embarked on a re-organisation. Hwange Colliery finally appointed a substantive chief executive following the departure of Mr Fred Moyo in 2011.

The Atlas Mara deal however resulted in the Banc ABC group chief executive Mr Doug Munatsi along with group chief financial officer Mr Beki Moyo and group chief operating officer Mr Francis Dzanya stepping down from the regional financial group. Mr Howard Buttery also stepped down as chairman of the Board of Directors of BancABC and fellow director, Mr Ngoni Kudenga. Mr Munatsi and company were replaced by an Atlas Mara team led by Mr Simbarashe Ronald Pfende new group CEO and comprise of Ms Makhosi Boyede and Ms Amelia Reynecke, who are the co-chief operating officers, and Ms Christine Bronkhorst the chief financial officer. Atlas Mara CEO Mr John Vital was appointed interim chairman and Mr Bradford Gibbs, a member of Atlas Mara's executive committee, also joined the bank.

Elsewhere former RioZim chief executive Mr Ashton Ndlovu was forced to resign because shareholders were not happy with his performance. He was replaced Mr Noah Matimba. At Innscor Africa, former chief executive chief executive Mr John Koumides was replaced by former board adviser Mr Antonio Fourie. Mr Jeremy Brooke left NatFoods Mr John Jere left Turnall Holdings and FBC sold out of the group through a dividend -in specie. Mr James Mushore left NMB on medical grounds while chair Mr Tendayi Mundawarara expressed his desire to leave the group at the next AGM.

In the banking sector ZB had a difficult year which forced it to wind down the operations of its stock-broking arm ZB Securities and asset management unit, ZB Asset Management Company and the cleaning up of its banking group's loan book, and offloading at least 300 employees which put a huge dent on its profit and loss account resulting in it issuing a warning for an impending loss for the year.

The biggest restructuring or re-organisation failure is Cottco. When everyone thought that the company was on a recovery path following the recapitalisation funds from the unbundling of Aico, the market was shocked to learn that the company had applied for judicial management. However Cottco has since opted for a scheme of arrangement with creditors.

Public Relations practitioners are there to help journalists get the correct information about an organisation. However there are some that have not been as good at this job and always make getting information most difficult for journalists. Here's the worst of the lot:

Zimra - The PR Department believes that the media should be fed from crumbs packaged in a statement time and again. Who in this day and age still requests for a letter with a stamp and letterhead. Any request for information outside the quarterly updates are usually referred to the Revenue Authority Act [Chapter 23:11] and; "I am, therefore, unable to comment or provide the requested information ... ."

RBZ--The Central Bank PR department is as good as non-existent. It does not respond to requests from the media and does not facilitate any interviews with the Governor.

Econet - Requests for comment on operational issues are often met with; "Econet Wireless is unable to comment on this matter at this time."

Lafarge--Lafarge believes that media are lapdogs meant to cover only their corporate social responsibility programmes.

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