Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) Matabeleland Chapter president Ruth Labode last Thursday challenged locally-based businesses and Diasporans from the region to enter into partnerships and take over companies closed recently during the deindustrialisation of Bulawayo.
Labode said the relocations and closure of companies in Bulawayo were a blessing in disguise for the region.
She said most people in Matabeleland region do not own companies and challenged them to take advantage of the current deindustrialisation phase to source funding so they could buy the companies.
“We may be crying over deindustrialisation now. But, this is a blessing in disguise for us. This is a chance for us to run our own companies now. Outsiders must not come here and take the companies ahead of us,” she said.
She challenged the locals to organise with other Matabeleland citizens based in South Africa, other countries to partner and buy the companies.
Labode recently told residents at a Bulawayo Agenda meeting it was a sad development that some of the companies which were on the verge of collapse in Bulawayo were being rescued by outsiders especially from Harare which meant that locals were not prepared to buy the companies.
She bemoaned low capacity utilisation by several companies in Bulawayo such as the National Blankets which she said used to employ over 1 000 workers, but now has only 100 workers.
“The company needs recapitalisation in order to be restored to its normal position. Cotton Printers has a buyer and will be opening soon. Unfortunately the buyer comes from Harare,” said Labode.
Labode also called for relaxation of bank loan requirements. She said most bank managers in Bulawayo have no authority to process loans for the companies in the region, but always referred all applications to Harare and it takes long for them to access the loans, leading to their collapse.
She challenged the government to revisit the banking laws and decentralise accessibility of loans for companies without necessarily having to travel to Harare for approval.