Mash West AAG suspicious of firm closures

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CHINHOYI — Mashonaland West regional president of the Affirmative Action Group (AAG), Clifford Hlupeko, has described the recent closure of several white-owned companies in Mashonaland West Province as politically motivated.

Hlupeko told NewsDay yesterday the move was “a deliberate and well orchestrated plan to derail the government’s indigenisation and economic empowerment drive.”

He said his organisation had in recent months noted the closure of at least five companies in the province, rendering scores of people jobless. He said despite the significant improvement in the socioeconomic and political environment, company directors still complained the economic environment was getting worse.

Among the companies, Hlupeko cited Darolyn which closed recently, leaving many of its workers jobless and without terminal benefits.

“Following representations from workers who have been thrown out of employment, we engaged the owners of some of these firms to establish why they were either closing or scaling down operations. It was surprising to learn that some cited an unconducive operating climate,” he said.

“Honestly, who can deny that the situation obtaining now is much more favourable than that which prevailed in 2008?” Hlupeko asked, accusing the company owners of dabbling in politics.

Efforts by NewsDay to get comment from Darolyn directors were fruitless as they were said to be out of the country.

The AAG regional president alleged the closure of companies was calculated to scuttle the government’s indigenisation and economic empowerment drive, which compels foreign-owned firms with an annual turnover of $500 000 and above, to cede 51% equity to Zimbabwean investors.