Thursday, 1 July 2021

ZITF POSTPONED

CABINET has postponed the 2021 Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) to August following an upsurge in Covid-19 cases.

The country had 48 533 confirmed cases, 38 323 recoveries and 1 761 deaths as of last Tuesday. A total of 1 249 new cases and 12 deaths were recorded on Tuesday alone. This year’s ZITF was scheduled to be held from July 20 to 23.

Eleven countries had confirmed participation and these are Angola, Belarus, Botswana, Indonesia, Japan, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania.

Speaking during a tour of Vulindlela Primary School in Cowdray Park suburb yesterday, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring Implementation of Government Programmes, Dr Joram Gumbo raised concern over non-compliance with Covid-19 regulations by members of the public.

“It was decided yesterday at Cabinet that ZITF be postponed to August following an upsurge in Covid-19 cases because it’s important that we take care of ourselves, we can always hold it when the situation has normalised. The virus is deadly and it’s no joke but at times people take it lightly and ignore directives from Government.

There is a serious upsurge of Covid-19 cases but the country has been recommended as one of the countries worldwide that have been able to contain the virus. We have managed to contain the virus because of the lockdowns that we have been enforcing but I’m disappointed to say that the reports we get show that Bulawayo isn’t complying with regulations,” said Minister Gumbo

He said President Mnangagwa after Cabinet then decided to extend the lockdown which has also affected the opening of schools.

“Why open schools when people are going to die? We can open them when the time comes,” said Minister Gumbo.

He urged various stakeholders to spread the word on the pandemic and emphasised the importance of compliance.

Dr Gumbo said he was aware that the pandemic was affecting livelihoods but people had to adhere to regulations as their lives matter most.

He said people should desist from waiting for a disaster to strike to prove that the pandemic is indeed killing people.

Minister Gumbo urged Members of Parliament to go out in full force during the period they will be dispatched to their constituencies to disseminate information on the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

“At times people think Government is just talking and they don’t take these matters seriously but they will be putting their lives at risk. If you go to hospitals, you will find that 20 percent of the people haven’t been vaccinated and, in the process, they will be putting their lives and lives of others at risk. Let’s take the two weeks grace period for vaccination seriously and let’s get vaccinated,” he said.

The ZITF will this year be held under tight Covid-19 mitigation protocols under the theme: “Showcasing the New Normal for Business & Industry: Realities and Opportunities.” The theme acknowledges that ZITF 2021 is taking place against the backdrop of Covid-19 and, as such, calls for multi-stakeholder engagement in forging innovative sustainable business models, economic and trade re-engagement.

 

Through ZITF, Government expects to create new opportunities in a rapidly unfolding context to ensure business continuity while shock-proofing the economy from further devastating consequences of the pandemic.

ZITF Company board chairman, Mr Busisa Moyo, said exhibitors were eager to resume face-to-face trade show participation to increase awareness of their companies’ products and services following the unprecedented disruption of the fair in 2020.

He said space bookings had reached 90 percent with 405 direct exhibitors having booked already.

Mr Moyo said a number of strategies had been put in place to adhere to Covid-19 regulations.

These include but are not limited to recruitment of a dedicated team tasked with monitoring and encouraging compliance with prescribed regulations, installation of sanitisation equipment at strategic locations within the exhibition centre such as gates, exhibition hall points of entry and exit, registration and information centres.

He said virtual formats will be adopted for some of the key activities/ events or meetings to reduce the numbers of people physically present at venues. There will also be pre-sales of attendance tickets and pre-registration for concurrent events. Chronicle

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