National Foods not abandoning Bulawayo

NATIONAL Foods limited has sold its oil plants in Bulawayo to a Harare based firm — Parrogate Company and is currently evaluating major capital investments projects to further improve four of its manufacturing operations in the city.

Report by Blondie Ndebele

National foods operations executive Chipo Nheta told NewsDay that the company closed its oil plants in Bulawayo and Harare a few years ago with officials citing critical shortage of locally produced raw materials including soya beans.

Responding to questions, Nheta said Parrogate bought the equipment.

“The equipment was in a dilapidated state due to foreign currency shortages,” he said.

“Parrogate has purchased both our Harare and Bulawayo oil plants and will combine the assets of these dysfunctional plants to create a functional plant,” he said.

In the past weeks, equipment has been seen at Bulawayo branch along Khami road being loaded and transported on a daily basis, which made people believe that the company was also relocating.

Part of the equipment included heavy duty machines.

This came at a time Bulawayo industries continued to close and relocate leaving many people in the city jobless.

Nheta said at the time when the plant was closed, all the people that were working at the site were transferred to other manufacturing sites.

Nheta said the company had no plans of relocating or closing as they had plans to evaluate major capital investment projects in the city to improve their manufacturing operations.

“We see Bulawayo as a key long term manufacturing site and would like to continue to make long term investment in the area. We are extremely concerned with the de-industrialisation of Bulawayo,” Nheta said.

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