The Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) claims the recent collapse of Bulawayo’s industrial base was directly linked to the farm invasions of the year 2000 which brought the country’s agricultural sector to its knees.
In a report entitled A Contribution to the Ongoing Debate on the De-industrialisation of Bulawayo, ZIMCODD said the inclusive government should be sincere if its attempts to revive Bulawayo industries were to succeed.
“Productivity of the agricultural sector needs to be fully restored.
“Evidence in this paper clearly shows the link between industry closures and disturbances of 2000 to the farming sector. There can be no hope of reviving Bulawayo’s industry as long as agricultural output remains suppressed and questions of ownership are unresolved,” the report states.
ZIMCODD added the de-industrialisation of Bulawayo affected life across the city.
“There is a clear link between Zimbabwe’s rising public debt and death of local manufacturing as de-industrialisation in Bulawayo has resulted in differentiated impacts across various segments classified by gender, class, race and origin.
“The first and obvious impact of de-industrialisation is growing urban unemployment. Linked to this has been the phenomenon of informalisation of the economy, which poses challenges for city management and service delivery given the sector’s limited revenue contribution to the city,” the report states.
Recently, Cabinet heard about 87 companies closed shop in Bulawayo since last year.
This has prompted government to inject $40 million under a programme “Let Bulawayo Survive” in a bid to revive the country’s industrial hub. The programme was launched last week by Finance minister Tendai Biti.
“De-industrialisation in Bulawayo specifically, is due to a confluence of factors, internal, external, historical, contemporary and geo-specific. ESAP (Economic Structural Adjustment Programme), in particular, dealt a fatal blow to local industry,” ZIMCODD said.
Bulawayo mayor Thaba Moyo said the de-industrialisation of the city was part of the reasons why the city was owed a lot of money by residents.
“It (de-industrialisation) is one of the many reasons affecting our revenue collection.
“We need a proper research on why people are not paying. Some people have not been paying for the past two years,” he said.