‘Industry as good as dead’

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says the country’s industry was “as good as dead” and this was being worsened by the failure of the inclusive government to come up with investor-friendly policies.

Tsvangirai described the situation as “frightening” and also accused some individuals in the inclusive government of frustrating policies that would make investing in the country attractive.

The PM made the remarks at the weekend after touring fertiliser manufacturing firm Sable Chemicals and Steelmakers, both in Kwekwe, Bata Shoe Company and Anchor Yeast in Gweru.
He also visited Zimasco in Shurugwi.

Bata Shoe Company early in the year shut down its Kwekwe factory and relocated its 134 employees to Gweru citing viability problems.

Several other companies, including Air Zimbabwe, Lobels Bakery and David Whitehead, are on the verge of collapse.

“Closed companies and those on the brink are many. It’s frightening and the inclusive government should bring policies to make sure companies survive and should start employing people,” said Tsvangirai.

“I passed through Zimalloys and there is nothing. The industry is dead and we are very disturbed with that. Some people are opposed to solving economic problems with Zanu PF doing everything to make sure there is no progress.”

Tsvangirai said the inclusive government, though it has noted tremendous progress, was yet to meet high expectations of the people since its inception in 2009.

“There has been notable progress. We have managed to stop the bleeding, but we are not where we want,” said Tsvangirai.

The PM said contrary to media reports that he was for indigenisation in any form, he preferred broad-based empowerment as opposed to that that benefits only a few individuals.

Tsvangirai said ever since Zanu PF started its talk about elections, business has been affected as investors were now taking a “back seat”.

Investors usually associate elections with violence and chaos.

Businesspeople told the Prime Minister during his tour that among the major challenges they were facing were funding constraints and power shortages.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Joseph Kanyekanye last month said business was in a crisis and in urgent need of funds to bail out ailing companies.

The International Monetary Fund last week said economic growth would drop to 5,5% in 2011 from 9,0% in 2010 as the economy remained fragile.

Industry and Trade minister Welshman Ncube recently said 87 companies had closed shop in Bulawayo shedding 20 000 jobs in process.

Government has since set up a seven-member ministerial taskforce to deal with the industrial problems affecting the company’s throughout the country.

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