ZIMBABWE will by year end have more accurate data on the number of retailers operating in the country and the status of the retail sector through the proposed National Retail Database being developed by the sector.The Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Denford Mutashu told a 2017 International Retailers and Wholesalers Indaba on Wednesday that his organisation is seized with the project and is on track to complete the project by December.
“The CZR has continued, despite lack of funding, to soldier on in helping economic revival efforts and currently coming up with National Retail Database — to help economic and industrial planning,” said Mr Mutashu.
“It is difficult currently, for example, to know who is trading from where and selling what goods and also whether the goods are imported or locally manufactured. It will also help to capture funding requirements for the sector as we wish to come up with a facility that will be accessible by formal or informal retailers and wholesalers as long as they are banking , procuring goods from local manufacturers and complying with other legal and regulatory requirements in the sector.
“The National Retail Database is critical not only to the retail sector, but will help industrial and economic planning. There is going to be accountability in the sector as we also need to ensure everyone gets registered from tuck-shop level to increase discipline,” said Mr Mutashu.
CZR has covered about 25 percent of the country in the data gathering exercise as lack of funding is hampering nationwide outreach.
“We are on course to have partners who have expressed interest. It will be easier when we have a database to help policy formulation and implement Government programmes,” he said.
The conference in its second year, ran under the theme “Harnessing Retail Opportunities for Accelerated Economic Development” was called to interrogate tapping in the rise of plastic money and mobile wallet transactions as an antidote to business growth challenges.
Delegates were drawn from retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, Government, suppliers, distributors, other business membership organisations and consumer organisations. The indaba was also called to unpack solutions to the cash crisis. This comes at a time the economy is grappling with liquidity challenges affecting not only the ordinary people but business viability as demand has continued to contract while allegations of externalisation, cash hoarding and a deepening market indiscipline has become the order of the day.