SOME of the companies that participated at the just-ended Mining, Engineering and Transport (Mine Entra) exhibition have called on organisers to review their space booking charges and avoid running the event concurrently with conferences.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
The annual exhibition, which ended on Friday, tackled topical issues such as fiscal incentives, overall growth of the mining sector and mining policy among others.
It was held under the theme “Unearthing Opportunities” — a rallying statement that was challenging inter-dependent sectors to uncover and take advantage of the potential, opportunities and growth prospects in the region’s mining industry and related sectors.
At least 160 direct exhibitors participated at the event. Foreign exhibitors were from China, Germany and South Africa.
Bookings amounted to 4 723 square metres of exhibition space representing 92% of the space available for sale.
A survey conducted by the NewsDay on Friday revealed that business was not as good as compared to last year. Exhibitors complained of high charges levied by ZITF Company.
“Business was very low especially on the last day. The turnout was not what we expected and the amount of money that we paid for the stands was exorbitant. It actually chases away exhibitors,” said Gary Sala, a representative of John Deere company, a subsidiary of Dube Holdings.
Sala said conferences should be conducted before or after the event to avoid distracting visitors.
He said as a company they did not realise much of their investment, but next year “we want to be here and we hope these challenges we have highlighted there would have been addressed”.
Another exhibitor from MinePro Zimbabwe who preferred anonymity said the exhibition days were too long and charges were too high. He urged organisers of the event to invite decision making people next time.
However, other exhibitors said the event was well organised only that the Zimbabwean economy was not performing up to standard.
“The business in general was okay even though we didn’t get much of the visitors. I don’t mind paying high charges if I am going to get the customers. What we only need is a return in our investments. I also feel the organisers should push the top guys to be here,” said Tom Henson, general manager of Tyres and Lubricants Zimbabwe.
Grarison Bake, GNK Laboratories (Pvt) Limited director said organisers should continue making the event annual.
“I feel organisers did a very good job. Lack of customers has nothing to do with organisers because they did what they could to bring people together,” he said.
Bake said organisers, however, should lure in more foreign exhibitors so that they could widen their scope of business. He said conferences which took place during the exhibition were highly informative.
During the exhibition, Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidakwa discussed a number of issues affecting the mining industry such as fiscal incentives necessary to support mining linkages and overall growth of the mining sector, empowerment models that support community development and a discussion on the mining policy and enablers to optimal development of the industry.
There was also a joint suppliers and producers’ conference — co-organised with Chamber of Mines Zimbabwe. The conference focused on local procurement and supply chain challenges as well as how local communities can benefit from mining projects and initiatives.
In the last day on Friday, the Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation had their annual small-scale and artisanal miners’ conference where the focus was on issues affecting the special interest group, including improved mining methods, environmental responsibility, and acquiring financing.