MUTARE — The government is finalising modalities to engage the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to avail a funding and implementation scheme that would capitalise strategic but ailing local firms, a minister has said.
Addressing captains of industry and the media during a familiarisation business tour ahead of this year’s annual congress of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries on Wednesday, Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha said the dire conditions of industries in Mutare required an “urgent fix”.
Bimha toured Kenrose Filters Pvt Ltd, Cairns Mutare, Quest Motors and the Coca-Cola Company to appreciate their operations and challenges.
The development is expected to mark the initial stages of the revival of industries in the region, which have been operating below 10% capacity.
“The condition of industries here is dire and requires and urgent fix. As government we are assessing all the industries that have either closed or those that are ailing so that we can revive them. We are working with the IDC which will directly work with industries and the RBZ which will inject funding to resuscitate companies” Bimha said.
“Our efforts must be directed to revive struggling industries to make sure that we create employment, add value and quality on our locally produced products.”
Bimha said government will let IDC identify strategic companies which need resuscitation and government will recommend for their turnaround through injection of the much needed capital.
“What we need to do is coming together and as government we need to work closely with investors. We are encouraging joint ventures. It is better that we work with those companies that have been in business and have been facing liquid challenges. Let’s revive those companies.
“Do not close businesses. We have just started work and you need to be patient enough. While we may need new companies on the fold, it is prudent to revive to revive those that are struggling but we must prioritise those that are operational, but struggling to meet their targets for economic development” he said.
Bimha did not disclose the amount that will be put in the scheme pool but indicated that as the ministry they will supervise to make sure that struggling companies will be revived.
Kenrose Filters managing director Kenneth Dziruni pleaded with the minister and called on government to ban imported filters as they were hampering the growth of locally produced filters.
“You are the ultimate authority that deals with industry minister. We are quite disturbed by the flooding of foreign goods in our country and this has directly affected us. We are calling for the banning of these goods so that we can thrive. We are also calling for the quick operational of the fund and the partnership with government,” Dziruni said.
Apart from the diamond and hospitality sectors, the provincial citrus farming, timber and agricultural sectors have declined at alarming levels over the years. Several companies that were strategic to the region including Karina and Textile, Lions have either closed down or downsized.
Border Timbers Limited closed two of its factories, Quest Motors is operating at 5% capacity while Cairns Foods was placed under judicial management.
Karina Textiles, Pine Products, PG Safety Glass and the country’s sole newsprint producer Mutare Board and Paper Mills have all folded.