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More companies closing

The dollarization of the Zimbabwean economy had people expectant of the change of the economic and social climate in Zimbabwe. Almost three years down the line, things are still progressively going down. It may be that the US dollar was devalued so much in Zimbabwe that trading and doing business in Zimbabwe has really been rocket science. Prices are inflated five or six times. Word on the street was that markup for any item was four hundred percent. This translated to all goods and made all products out of the reach of ordinary people. To this day, some people especially those in border towns buy groceries in neighboring countries. I travelled though Beitbridge a few months ago and it happened to be the end of the month. The local people all go to South Africa to buy groceries and even to buy take aways.

Companies continue to close down while many are just holding onto the skin of their teeth. In this environment, business strategy does not change. The strategy is grab what you can, get as much as you can and can as much as you can get. Executives do not care about the company and the hundreds of families that will be in financial trouble after the company sinks. Executives continue to buy big cars and houses for themselves and pay themselves ridiculous packages. I was failing to understand the logic of this until it dawned on me that they do this so that when the company finally gives up they can go away with their big cars, houses and a big foreign savings accounts and investment. Such selfishness is what causes the country to continue on a downward spiral.

Red Star an established wholesaler is closing down at the end of the month after receiving millions of dollars resuscitation from several lenders and investors. When they received these bail outs management bought cars and houses. Today the company is winding down its operations. What idiot keeps putting money into a sinking ship? The learned intellectuals with ten degrees and PhD’s. Jaggers wholesalers have also been changing hands. Lobels bread, PG Timbers, Cairns Foods, Bata are also among those who have closed shop. I grew up eating Lobels bread. This is like when Sasco closes down or Hovis bread closing down. In our minds we always think that people will always need to eat bread, especially here in Africa, bread is a staple. Cairns foods made all the packaged foods equivalent to South Africa’s Tiger Brands, no more canned Zimbabwean food. No more Sun jam; this was the best mixed fruit jam in the world. If only I could preserve some to show my children what real jam tasted like. Bata made all our shoes. We got school shoes, trainers, and all footwear from Bata. No more Patapata or Sandak!! If you were building, you got roof trusses from PG timbers.

All we have now are memories. We can try to blame others for the destruction, but ordinary self serving and selfish people have played a part in sending strong healthy companies to the grave. The environment is tough I cannot discredit that. We need tougher business people who will do whatever needs to be done to keep companies afloat. We cannot afford to be selfish while companies close. Some companies could have survived if like other companies worldwide, they had been prudent and thought outside the box. It is up to us to change the current state of affairs and we really need to change the way that we think and do business in Zimbabwe. A good way is to retrain staff and keep skills current . We cannot continue to use outdated concepts. I know people are well educated, but if you studied from books written in 1980, you cannot make 2011 decisions and survive. Our University of Zimbabwe is still stuck in the 1880’s and we are producing people with 1980 ideas. We need to move on. To grow in business we need to realise that we need to keep learning. Our courses are one such avenue of keeping your skills current. Sharpen your skills with a current course.

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