The Sunday Mail
Human beings are interesting creatures.
Oftentimes, they try too much to see, interpret and recall facts to fit their bigoted and sometimes warped perspectives and worldview.
Experts have a term they use to describe this peculiar trait — confirmation bias.
However, the most objectionable and abominable practice is when people invent their own facts to suit their narratives, especially where none exist.
People are entitled to their own opinions but they surely cannot be entitled to their own facts.
It seems doomsday critics, who are clearly allergic to facts, are now telling us that industry is on the verge of collapse, even when the same industry is telling its shareholders that they are now coming out of the woods.
Well, in this case, the recent flurry of financial results from Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed companies — who are beholden to their shareholders and stockholders — would be instructive.
Construction company Masimba tells us it now expects its results for this year to be “significantly ahead” of last year, notwithstanding the pandemic that has largely slowed economic activities and disrupted supply chains.
Part of its business is being driven by infrastructure projects in roads, housing, civil works and mining.
Not only is it rehabilitating the Harare-Beitbridge road, but it is constructing the Skyline to Chimanimani road in Manicaland, which was affected by Cyclone Idai.
Turnall — another company that supplies roofing and piping materials, among others — has since reported that its volumes rose 11 percent in the three months to September compared to the same period a year ago.
It is not surprising that cement manufacturers have not been left behind. PCC claims its sales volumes jumped as much as 40 percent in the July to September period, driven by ongoing infrastructure projects.
The spirits of beverage makers have been lifted as well.
Afdis, a unit of Delta, recorded a remarkable 28 percent growth in volumes for the September quarter as sales of spirits and ready-to-drink beverages increased by 43 percent and 24 percent, respectively.
It gets better.
TV Sales & Home, which sells household items, realised a massive 48 percent climb in sales in the three-month period to September from a year earlier.
The company even extended its footprint by opening its 50th store in Mutare.
These are cold, hard facts.
But, it is not fortuitous that much of this growth was experienced after June when the market-led foreign currency auction system was launched.
The auction has been the magic wand that has not only stabilised the exchange rate between the Zimbabwe dollar and the greenback, but it has stabilised prices of basic commodities.
Far from relying on unpredictable, unreliable and irrational foreign currency traders on the informal market, businesses now have a stable and reliable formal market for their needs.
Yet we hear reports there are businesses which are being asphyxiated by foreign currency shortages.
Well, this is as disingenuous as it is disappointing because nothing could be further from the truth.
Again the facts tell a different story.
In the month of October alone, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) allocated US$112 million to small and big firms, which is more than the US$100 million needed by industry to function optimally.
During the two auctions held so far this month, more than US$58 million has been sold.
Most importantly, the market has been able to match demand from successful bidders.
Just yesterday, President Mnangagwa toured Marondera-based Proton Bakery, where management at the bread-maker made it clear that the newly introduced auction had brought stability and access to the much-needed foreign currency — factors that are critical for long-term planning and expansion.
So, we wonder which companies are actually collapsing.
If the above-mentioned anecdotes are signs of collapse, we shudder to think what economic growth and recovery would look like.
It is a fact that the deliberate economic reforms being pursued by the Second Republic, which have seen massive infrastructure projects such as dam and road construction at a scale like no other in recent times, are beginning to have an impact on the real economy.
Greenshoots of recovery are now evident in almost every sector of the economy, which bodes well for job creation, economic growth and the broader objective of lifting people out of poverty.
Sadly, the facts show that it is not everyone who is on board.
This spirit of ill-will, where people invent facts to suit their parochial agendas, even those against the national interest, urgently needs to be exorcised.
Again, people can have their own perspectives and narratives, but they should not invent facts, however, unpalatable reality might be to them.