The Government has set aside $40 million for distressed and marginalised industrial areas, with Bulawayo being made the first priority in terms of industrial revitalisation.
MDC-T Bulawayo provincial chairman Gorden Moyo, who is also State Enterprises and Parastatals minister, said in an interview yesterday the funds would be made available to industries that have potential to create jobs in the region.
“Yes, it is a government fund which was set aside for the distressed and marginalised named DIMAF areas with Bulawayo being a priority and placed in category A. The money is for industries which have potential to employ and develop the areas, but are in a distressed position,” Moyo said.
He said as MDC-T and in line with the recently launched party policy on revitalisation of Bulawayo industries, they supported the government initiative on revitalising city industries.
“In view of the new Parliament being officially opened last week, we are going to move a motion on that issue and whatever the government is doing on revitalisation of the industries in Bulawayo and countrywide where industry is distressed we are going to support it. That is our party policy,” he said.
However, Moyo bemoaned what he termed the behaviour of “vultures” in which he said some investors outside Bulawayo were buying shares from distressed companies in the region eyeing the fund with the intention of taking it away to other regions.
“We have it on good authority that some investors coming from outside Bulawayo were buying shares in distressed companies in the city with no intention of revitalising the distressed companies, but instead aiming to take the money away to elsewhere outside the region,” said Moyo.
Captains of industry and commerce have expressed concern at the continued flight of companies from Bulawayo saying this impacted negatively on the growth of the city.
These sentiments came from delegates that attended the chief executive officers’ Africa Roundtable meeting last week.
Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu also expressed concern at the relocations. He however said there was need for a “collective approach” to the issue.
Mpofu said the problem with people in Matabeleland was that they were not united and wanted to divide themselves along political lines instead of working together, before he revealed he had a good working relationship with Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe even though they belonged to opposing political parties.
Khupe said she moved a motion in Parliament in 2001 about the relocation of companies from Bulawayo.
She added it was “a very big concern for us” and wanted to see industries opening up again in Bulawayo.