‘Bright prospects for economic growth’ | The Sunday Mail

The Sunday Mail

business journalist

The economic outlook is improving largely due to the government’s business-friendly policies, said CBZ Holdings Limited Chairman Marc Holtzman.

President Mnangagwa’s vision and guidance, he added, has seen the government increasingly support businesses.

“The president did the most important thing: he basically freed up the economy. It caused the government to support the companies, to deviate, as well as to the changes in the title deed.

“It’s very commendable that the president has launched a plan that is going to achieve a significant amount of positives in this economy,” Holtzman said after an extraordinary general meeting (EMG) held last week.

The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow by 5.2% this year, after growing by around 7.8% in 2021 on the back of a good agricultural season and growth in the mining sector, among other factors.

The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube, believes that the country is on track to become an upper-middle-income economy by 2030.

The successful implementation of National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) was based on a number of factors, including increased productivity in the agricultural sector.

The government is also working to promote private sector-led economic growth.

In terms of NDS1, the agricultural sector is fundamental to the expected economic growth, improving security, land tenure and supporting smart agriculture strategies.

According to Mr. Holtzman, the economy’s growth trajectory has seen CBZ Holdings’ market capitalization grow from $14 billion when it joined the group to $100 billion currently.

“We have so many positives in the bank. The net balance in USD is currently over $53 million and the financial institution has been able to support its customers,” he said.

“The group has often spoken of the prospects for listing on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX), but it always remains an aspiration, and (we) will do so when the time is right.”

It is believed that such a move would allow the group to bear hard currency dividend payments.

“We are in the fraction of where the country is moving. People are very optimistic. Every day, investors ask to invest in Zimbabwe.

“But, from an overall perspective, we’re very positive about the country’s economic outlook and the role CBZ will play in the economy.”

Mr. Holtzman said the acquisition of First Mutual Holdings Limited (FMHL) would create a regional financial institution capable of punching above its weight.

“We have been able to support business expansion in the region. First Mutual Holdings has done well and the intention now is to create an institution better calibrated to take any local risk.

He said the group has opened an office in Johannesburg which will play a key role in integrating with FMHL affiliates.

FMHL has successful units in Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.

Prior to the acquisition, CBZHL held a 3.23% equity interest in FMHL through a special purpose vehicle owned by PIM Nominees (Pvt) Limited.

The subsequent purchase of additional NSSA shares — 31.2% of the issued common shares of FMHL — brought CBZ Holdings Limited’s total ownership to approximately 34.45%.

The transaction is a mix of cash and equity.

“The cash portion is $21 million and the split in terms of cash and stock exchange is 30/70%.

“The $21 million will be paid in 18 months, but $10 million will be paid within ten days of the fulfillment or waiver of the conditions precedent, while the balance of $11.2 million would be paid on the eighteen month period.

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