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Collaboration, Professionalism and Good Customer Service behind local Electrical Engineering SME, Anzrom’s Success Story

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A local electrical engineering small to medium enterprise (SME), Anzrom Engineering which specialises in the sales, maintenance, and repairs of electrical and electronic equipment has credited collaboration, professionalism and good customer service as being the reasons behind their survival and success in the current challenging economic environment.

Despite various operating challenges such as lack of enough capital, serious competition on a shrinking market, rampant corruption, political uncertainties and unstable foreign currency exchange rates, the company has continued to effectively and efficiently offer its products and services over the years.

While speaking in an interview with zwnews24’s Brian Kazungu, Mr. Romeo Ndlovu, Anzrom’s founding director highlighted some of the strategies that they have implemented in navigating an uncertain economic terrain towards expansion, profitability and customer satisfaction.

“The market has positively responded to our products and services because we are a collaborative and professional organisation that is addressing a genuine and observable need or problem in our communities. We have the utmost professional approach to clients’ requirements: we employ professional business ethics and have a professional team on board to enforce them.” Said Romeo.

He, however, decried the negative perception that the market has over the quality of products and services offered by local or indigenous entrepreneurial youths in the country as a factor that interferes with the development of local small to medium enterprises.

Mr. Ndlovu whose dream is for Anzrom to become a regional player in the renewable energy platform and to supply power to the national grid encouraged youths to start their own business and become their own masters despite the associated challenges.

“Starting a business is not an easy task since there are many challenges associated with it, but there is no need to fear. Work on your idea and become your own master. Seek partnerships where necessary, develop a good strategy and have a business plan ready as you seek investment and funding.” He advised.

Below is an interview between zwnews24 and Anzrom’s Romeo Ndlovu.

zwnews24: Would you briefly describe the background, nature, and mandate of your business?

Anzrom Engineering:  Anzrom Engineering was formed in the year 2015. It specializes in the sales, maintenance, and repairs of electrical and electronic equipment, be it for mining, structural and civil works as well as any other infrastructure-related projects. We are a company with a sound management structure that is dedicated to ensuring that we provide comprehensive quality, affordable and appropriate electrical engineering services.

zwnews24: What is the main motivation and major push for you to engage in the business that you are involved in?

Anzrom Engineering:  We are motivated by the need to professionally and satisfactorily fill a gap in the supply of domestic, commercial, industrial, mining electrical equipment as well as to offer any other engineering related products and services. We endeavour to use the breadth of our experiences, capabilities, and strength to create value for our clients, staff, partners and society as a whole.

zwnews24: What are the different products and services that you are offering? 

Anzrom Engineering:  We are an electrical engineering products and services provider. We supply, fix and maintain electrical equipment and components. We also commission electrical projects. Because of erratic power supplies in our communities, we are also addressing such problems through providing renewable energy options such as solar panels, inverters, solar lights, solar geysers, energy-saving bulbs and tubes as well as solar batteries etc. 

Apart from the mentioned services, we have professionally engaged in the supply of CABLE JOINING PRODUCTS, OVERHEAD LINES, FALL ARREST KIT, CHEMICALS, IRON MAN WORK POSITIONING BELTS, CONDUCTORS, CONTROLLERS, ELECTRICAL CABLES, RELAYS, SIGNALS AND SWITCHES AMONG OTHER PRODUCTS.

zwnews24: How has the market responded to your products and services so far since inception and what can you attribute to such kind of response?

Anzrom Engineering:  The market has positively responded to our products and services because we are a collaborative and professional organisation that is addressing a genuine and observable need or problem in our communities. We have the utmost professional approach to clients’ requirements: we employ professional business ethics and have a professional team on board to enforce them.

zwnews24: What is it that is unique about yourself, your team and your services, that set you apart and which helps you to stand out among various service providers who are in the same category with you?

Anzrom Engineering:  Strategic collaboration with our stakeholders and attention to the needs of our clients makes us unique. We strive to make our clients happy and this approach has paid off for us and we are grateful. 

zwnews24: What do you believe and understand are the main advantages to your clients when they make use of your company products and services in addressing their needs and wants.

Anzrom Engineering:  When you trust us to deliver on your electrical engineering needs, you benefit from reliability, fairness and honesty over and above the good quality products and services that we offer. We continuously strive for service excellence, which is underpinned by our commitment to total client satisfaction.

zwnews24:  Do you have any background in this industry? If yes, how could this have helped you in identifying the business opportunities behind your entrepreneurial drive?

Anzrom Engineering:  We are a team of Engineers and thus we brought our ideas and experiences together when we realised there was a business gap that we felt we could fill up.

zwnews24: What can you look back at and say that so far, this has been your major achievements as an enterprise and what do you believe has greatly contributed towards such achievements?

Anzrom Engineering:  The enterprise started with four workers and it has grown to sixteen members. To us, this is a great achievement. Knowing customer`s needs, quick response and other strategies contributed to this growth. 

zwnews24:  In a world where most people, especially the youth are failing to start and run their own enterprises because of lack of capital, how have you managed to launch and operate this initiative?

Anzrom Engineering:  Capital is a major challenge and we were not spared but we formed a partnership and contributed towards raising capital. Because of that, we started off without making a profit in our first projects since were still to break even. However, it is important for all SMEs to have a sound business plan that can possibly get you contracts and attract funding or investment.

zwnews24:  It is a fact that the current economic situation globally and even in your country is challenging. As such, what is it that has helped you as a business to continue operating under some difficult conditions that you have encountered?

Anzrom Engineering:  When we started operating, Zimbabwe was using a multi-currency system and the US dollar was still trading at 1:1 with the local currency. This at least made the operating environment favourable to a certain extent since we could afford to buy stock. After the ban of the multicurrency, we still had enough stock and this at least helped us to meet the demands of our clients. More so, items like solar panels, inverters, solar lights, solar geysers, energy-saving bulbs and tubes etc., can be imported duty and surtax free into Zimbabwe and this has at least kept our prices reasonable and affordable to the generality of our clientele. However, unfortunately, inflation has not spared us since we are now struggling to afford the required foreign currency to import stock from abroad. As such, probably, like anyone else, the issue of exchange rates and monetary regulations is affecting our operations. 

zwnews24: What are and what has been some of the operational challenges that you have encountered so far in the pursuit of your entrepreneurship vision and how have you dribbled past them?

Anzrom Engineering:  Operating space is one of the challenges that we encountered since the central business centre was infested with people doing the same business like ours. However, we were later on allocated some space through the City Council after serious follow-ups on our application.  We faced serious competition from local and foreign nationals who were already in the industry but with a well-educated and hardworking professional team, we managed to join the race and became a well-recognised entity within the market. We also partnered with a manufacturing company where we agreed to sell its products on its behalf and this helped us with stocks, especially solar related products.

zwnews24: Based on your experience, what advice can you give to unemployed youths and many other job seekers concerning entrepreneurship as a way of creating employment for themselves and others?

Anzrom Engineering:  Starting a business is not an easy task since there are many challenges associated with it but there is no need to fear. Work on your idea and become your own master. Seek partnerships where necessary, develop a good strategy and have a business plan ready as you seek investment and funding.

zwnews24: What are the current challenges happening in your industry or country, which are affecting the viability of your business? In that regard, what are the strategies that you are putting in place for you to achieve your goals?

Anzrom Engineering:  The following are a cocktail of challenges within our industry that is affecting viability:  access to capital, serious competition on a shrinking market, bureaucracy and corruption, negative perceptions in our society on the quality of products by entrepreneurial indigenous youths, not forgetting a difficult operating environment characterised by high licensing fees, erratic power supplies, political uncertainties and fluctuating exchange rates. As mentioned earlier, collaboration, professionalism and good customer service has been our cushioning formula so far despite the mentioned challenges.

zwnews24: Where do you foresee your business in the future and what legacy, history or impact do you want your business to have in your community, country or across the world? 

Anzrom Engineering:  In the future, we intend to be the biggest supplier of renewable energy in the region as well as selling the biggest wattage to the national grid. Government initiatives and breadth of customer base give us confidence that once merged with our organisational strategies we will reach such far.

zwnews24:  How do clients and other stakeholders engage your business? How do they get in touch?

Anzrom Engineering:  For more information and engagements, our stakeholders can visit our website as well as our social media pages. They can also contact us through email or get in touch with us through the phone via SMS, phone calls and WhatsApp.

www.anzrom.co.zw: info@anzrom.co.zw: anzirom@gmail.com

+263772689034/+263715899860

#. The questions in this interview are adapted from the book, The SME HANDBOOK written by Brian Kazungu: https://amzn.to/32hZSlb

Business

An Analysis On How Zimbabwe Can Harness Local Capital To Its Own Advantage

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The Zimbabwean government’s adoption of the Open For Business mantra in its approach towards unlocking investment is a good public relations act which must be accompanied by an enabling policy framework that not only attracts foreign investment but one which also respects local capital and thus stimulating local savings and investment.

 Zimbabweans on their own can play a critical role in unlocking the country’s economic Rubik’s cube since IMF Loans and World Bank Grants or any such foreign lines of credit will achieve very little in the absence of local goodwill.

During these economic difficulties that the country is going through, it is important to consider that hardworking, focused and resilient Zimbabweans have the capacity to bring back their economy into full throttle and high productivity. 

However, this can be possible when there is efficient allocation of local capital and when incentives for participation in building the economy are right since after all, capital goes where it thrives. . 

Over the years, in my formal and informal interactions with people across the board, I have conversed with friends who have felt safer investing their money elsewhere than in their own homeland Zimbabwe. 

As a result, many great local ideas have been exported to other more functional economies as enterprising Zimbabweans, despite their love for their country, they had to make the tough call of taking their intellectual capital where it can yield better returns. 

On one occasion, I accompanied a colleague to pitch his business idea in a neighboring country where we were well received in the business sense and this alone made it more appealing for him to establish in that country.

The government must therefore understand that local capital is an essential economic building block and that the entrepreneur and local investor is an ally who must be recognized, accommodated, promoted, protected and be celebrated in order to spur economic development.

Zimbabweans as a collective citizenry, i.e. both those in the diaspora and those at home can make a significant contribution in reviving their economy as long as they understand and believe that their capital is safe and that they themselves are welcome, respected and protected. 

Once local capital thrives, Zimbabwe will become a honeypot that attracts even the most skeptical of investors since capital as a resource, it goes where it gets the best incentive and reward since no investor can ignore a good return underpinned by a stable economy. 

That having been said, the question that comes to mind is how then can we get local capital to work for us? 

The answers to this question are listed below:

  1. We need to probe how many local investment deals have fell through and why and what we can do to get them on track.
  1. We need to help the informal sector, the small business owners to scale, give incentive to local lenders to shift to lending for productivity as opposed to consumption. Zimbabwe is bubbling with potential and so is the rest of Africa. The question we should always ask when crafting policy is, ‘why would private capital prefer us?’
  1. We need to articulate a different policy direction that is inclusively underpinned by broad consultations with Zimbabweans. Zimbabweans must invest locally and also be encouraged to invest long term first before international capital can find real comfort here. 
  1. We need to harness the diaspora dividend. 

Implementing the afore-mentioned can bring an end to speculative investing and rent seeking behavior which is destroying the economy. 

Local capital understands its own local environment. The fact that over 60% of Zimbabwe’s economy is informal proves that Zimbabweans are prepared and willing to work for themselves and their country. Should these hardworking Zimbabweans be given the requisite support for them to continue being productive, then economic stability would be guaranteed.

Zimbabwe’s diaspora is another important constituency in country’s development matrix. For the last two decades, the diaspora community have proven their importance to Zimbabwe’s economy. If only we can get them to participate in broader economic activities through more pronounced savings and investment. 

Locally based Zimbabweans including local institutional investors have often received the short end of the policy stick despite their resilience and willingness to continue building. For instance, how institutional investors like pension funds recovered from the 2003-2008 spell is a miracle. Similarly how they are surviving after February 2019 is also an interesting subject considering the limited investment instruments available on the market. 

These institutions are a key cog in stimulating savings and investment for any economy globally. 

To put this into perspective, NSSA alone was collecting an average of US$200 million during the multi-currency era, not mentioning other statutory as well as private pension funds. 

The above illustrates the potential and capacity for the country to succeed using local capital. 

In closing, I will reference my 12 May 2014 chat with my late mentor Joseph Sagwati in which he wrote.

 “You dont fly out to woo capital, you sell yourself to investors through an accommodative framework of policies on ease of doing business in a conducive environment where the sanctity of private property and enforceability of rule of law are sacrosanct and indivisible. Once this happens, Zimbabwe will ignite the required glow that attracts investors without wasting taxpayers’ money on empty global junkets with a begging bowl.”

Zimbabweans can build Zimbabwe and once we start, the rest of the world will join us. 

Prechard Mhako | Business Development Consultant & Economic Analyst | Email consult@abiyedu.co.zw

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Zimbabwe’S Re-Introduction Of The US$: The Best Test For Any Functional Currency Is A Crisis!

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With the COVID-19 pandemic in our midst, our government has yet again made another hurried and fishy pronouncement which has re-enabled the use of the United States dollar which they had banned only 9 (nine) months ago. 

The re-introduction of US$ into the economy has mainly been reactionary as the government gets into a panic mode because of various reasons including the fact that the major source of forex which is diaspora remittances will be heavily affected during the lockdowns being imposed by various countries. 

Even though it is common knowledge that in any functional economy, policy consistency is the key to success, our government seems to think otherwise as they have been making confusing policy pronouncements over the past two years, driven by corruption and greed.

I am going to outline what the press statement by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe means and the implications that it has on the wider economy as well as to businesses and the general public. 

Below are the 4 major sticky points for me:

  1. THE GOVERNMENT HAS ALLOWED THE USE OF FREE FUNDS FOR LOCAL PAYMENTS

My first question to them is: Can someone walk into the bank and withdraw USD from their Nostro Account? Personally, I don’t think that the government will allow people to withdraw USD because they know people will clean up their Nostro accounts. However, this would have been the major boost of confidence for people to trust that the policy above is genuine. Another question which they need to address is: Will they be allowing cash purchases or its just free funds? If the measure is only for Nostro, it makes the whole process another heist of the Nostro accounts. 

By allowing the use of USD as a currency, there will be a lot of implications for the economy. Firstly, the economy is going to slowly transition from being a cashless economy to being a cash (USD) economy as long as this policy is in place and by end of the year, the economy would have fully re-dollarised. The thorn in the flesh for the government when the economy becomes a cash economy is that a cash economy is difficult to monitor and to earn revenue from compared to a cashless economy. Such a development will lead to the shrinking of government revenue because there is a potential for a lot of unrecorded/unaccounted transactions in the economy as people and businesses try to evade tax. 

This, therefore, means that at one point the government is going to revert back to banning the USD and letting the already dead RTGS become the main currency or the unlikely option of making the USD the sole functional currency again.

Given the lack of trust that people and businesses have on our government, customer deposits into banks will be very low and this will mean that the government has a few USDs to play around with. Most businesses will either store value in hard cash or offshore accounts. Also bear in mind that the amount of free funds currently in banks is a very small fraction of the total cash (USD) in circulation on the parallel market

The solution to this huge problem is customer confidence which is currently almost nonexistent. Unfortunately, the solution to the customer confidence problem is political will and good governance of which our political masters have for a long time dismally failed to show forth.

  1. GOVERNMENT HAS SUSPENDED THE “MANAGED FLOATING EXCHANGE RATE” AND FIXED THE EXCHANGE RATE AT 1:25

In my previous article on this platform, I contested that there is nothing such as a “managed floating exchange rate”. I predicted that the black market will continue to thrive and this has been the case. The government had to give in and remove such a policy because it showed a lack of understanding of economic fundamentals.

Now that the government has explicitly fixed the exchange rate between the USD and the RTGS while allowing the use of the USD, it marks the beginning of the death of the RTGS. We are going to see businesses demanding USD and the black market thriving until the USD becomes the official currency again.

Fixing the USD to RTGS rate will also see those in higher powers who can get USD at interbank rates benefiting heavily and feeding the black market with forex at a huge premium.

The solution to this problem is the same as that of Point 1 (One) above, which is customer confidence.

  1. REDUCING OF STATUTORY RESERVE RATION FROM 5% TO 4.5%.

The RBZ has also reduced the amount of deposits banks are supposed to keep as reserves in order to increase the lending capacity of banks to corporates. This would have been a noble idea in a transparent functional economy. It is a public secret that the majority of businesses with access to such facilities from banks are those owned by or linked to corrupt politicians. This then provides another opportunity for looters to loot through loans. 

As such, a proper framework and a robust vetting system should thus be put in place in order to enable banks to thoroughly review businesses that they want to lend money to and then the priority should be given to key economic drivers without favour.

  1. THE ISSUANCE OF OPEN MARKET OPERATIONS (OMO) CORPORATE BILLS.

These bills have been used to steal from companies quite a number of times and I hope companies are now wiser. Currently, no wise company will buy bills from the government given the current world economic status.

After the COVID-19, most economies including first world counties are going to require bailouts and because of that, it is important to understand that a bailout can only succeed with a strong currency and we all know that the RTGS is not a currency at all. 

That is the reason why the government has made this panicky policy which is half-backed and rather too late. 

If our nation is hit by this virus very hard like what’s happing in Europe and recently in the United States of America, our economy will collapse and need resuscitation. 

Unfortunately, the RTGS will not be able to do that job since it is not bankable anywhere in the world and this means that we will need a stronger currency like the USD, which is the reason why there has been this sudden shift in policy by our government.

In conclusion, our economy is like an ailing human body whose organs are failing one by one until the body shuts down. We are nearing the shutdown and as such, immediate genuine attention is required to save the little that’s left to talk about in our economy.

By Gilbert Kamusasa

Tony Elumelu Foundation Alumni

Young African Leaders Initiative Alumni

SEED STARS Alumni

ACT Alumni

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Africa

Corona Virus, A Food Security Threat To Africa – Dr. Brylyne Chitsunge, Pan African Parliament Food Security Ambassador.

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Dr. Brylyne Chitsunge, the Pan African Parliament Ambassador for Food Security in Africa said that the outbreak of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a serious food security threat to this continent where some countries are surviving on food aid from donors across the world.

She highlighted that the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic which has drastically affected stock markets and international trade has also unfortunately brought along some logistical challenges with it which in turn affect the movement of food aid to countries that need it the most.

The Food Ambassador attributed the logistical challenges to some lockdowns and travel bans that are happening in some seriously affected countries like Italy whose facilities are critical for the movement of goods to other parts of the world, especially to Africa.

Dr. Chitsunge described the crisis as a multi-faceted tragedy that calls for informed cooperation among all stakeholders because of its far-reaching consequences in the various aspects of people’s day to day life especially when it comes to access to critical life-saving resources.

Concerning the on-going food crisis in some African countries, she said that there is a need to urge farmers to diversify their crops given the persistent drought conditions in some parts of the continent which are making productivity for crops such as maize to be very difficult.

She added that Africa has also been affected by pests and diseases affecting crops and animals, a development that can be attributed to changes in weather and poor grazing land management.

In order to reduce and avoid food shortages in the future, she called for the adoption of sustainable land management and agricultural systems which safeguard livelihoods and enhance crop resilience in response to the impact of climate change.

Dr. Brylyne Chitsunge – Mustard (Tsunga) Field at Elpasso Farms, South Africa

Dr. Chitsunge who is also a farmer herself is partnering with schools and universities to promote a farming culture and has also opened her Elpasso Farm in South Africa to decision-makers, journalists and students in order to give them an on-site educational farming experience.

Speaking on the opportunities associated with cannabis, she said that Studies indicate that it could be one of the key agricultural commodities from Africa.

She further revealed that in Zimbabwe alone, hemp (cannabis) production has the potential to replace tobacco

The Ambassador who is also a Strategic Advisor to decision-makers in several governments warned that there is a potential risk of promoting clandestine channels for its trade if legalisation and commercialisation of cannabis are not well regulated. She, however, showed excitement on the awakening that is happening in SADC concerning the legalization of marijuana citing that so far, Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho have all legalised cannabis, with Malawi having recently legalised the growing, selling and exporting of cannabis for research and medicinal purposes.

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