By Justin Mahlahla
The Affirmative Action Group (AAG) says the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by Britain, the United States and their allies have adversely the operations of indigenous business people in the country.
In a statement, AAG World Wide president Mike Chimombe said: “While the western-imposed, illegal sanctions are said to be targeted, as AAG we have seen first-hand that the sanctions are adversely affecting the majority of our members.
“The illegal sanctions have to be removed without any conditions because our members have been suffering over the years. We want to state categorically that sanctions by their nature are blunt instruments that often produce unintended and undesirable consequences.
“To start with, the imposition of the illegal sanctions badly affected the country profile and as a result, most companies from Zimbabwe are viewed as high risk. This means the international community is afraid to lend any support to indigenous companies from Zimbabwe.”
Chimombe said the sanctions have also adversely affected indigenous businesspeople in the sense that local banks that support them were put on sanctions.
“The local businesspeople are suffering as they cannot access support from local financial institutions. To make matters worse, some of the local and international financial institutions have been slapped with fines by some of the countries that imposed the illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe for trying to help Zimbabwean companies. This has left many indigenous companies in limbo as they can’t access funds to capitalise their businesses,” he said.
“It has also been a nightmare for indigenous companies to effect payments through the international payment system as the payments are either intercepted or blocked. Due to these negative factors, access to credit markets have been blocked and indigenous companies have to live from hand-to-mouth with no external credit lines. The lack of offshore lending has crippled the operations of many indigenous companies. In addition, Zimbabwean importers are asked to pay cash upfront thereby squeezing their foreign currency reserves,” he added.
He said with regards to agriculture, which is the backbone of the economy, the illegal sanctions affecting most institutions that support the sector have resulted in lower agricultural yields that went on to affect millions of families that faced starvation, directly perpetuated hunger in the country.
He however said with or without sanctions, the AAG will continue to empower indigenous businesspeople and that Zimbabwe country will once again rise up and take its rightful place on the international scene.