LISTED fast-foods concern Simbisa Brands yesterday opened its Bulawayo Chicken Inn drive-through facility amid pomp and fanfare.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Officially opening the facility yesterday, Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko urged other companies to invest in Bulawayo.
“I challenge other companies, big, medium and small, to also positively respond to the government’s call for public private initiatives, especially with State enterprises. The government has been seized with improving the ease of doing business in order to make it easy for new companies to invest in Zimbabwe, while existing companies can expand like Simbisa Brands,” he said in a speech read on his behalf by Industry deputy minister Chiratidzo Mabuwa.
Mphoko called upon the private sector to respond positively to the government’s initiatives of improving the economic and investment environment in the country.
He said the private sector should come on board and work with government to alleviate the serious effects of drought by taking their social responsibilities seriously, adding the drought, which he said had slowed down the government’s thrust towards economic recovery through ZimAsset, had to be tackled inclusively by all stakeholders that include government, the private sector and the United Nations agencies in the country.
“It is, therefore, gratifying when companies like Simbisa are forging ahead and expanding their operations. I have been working with the business community of Bulawayo to craft strategies of resuscitating businesses in [the city] so that Bulawayo can become the business hub of Zimbabwe once again.
The facility, situated along Hillside Road near the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) exhibition centre, was due to have been opened last December, but was deferred to last month.
Meanwhile, Mphoko said the drought mitigation measures have to target the most vulnerable of society, who include the poor, mostly in rural areas, the elderly, the sick and orphans as well as the unemployed.
“Companies, especially those in the retail sector, should strive to ensure that food commodities are affordable and thus accessible.”
Chicken Inn, now under Simbisa Brands, opened its first outlet in Harare in 1987. The company has 200 stores in Zimbabwe, employing 2 500 workers, with 753 employed in 64 stores in the southern region, Simbisa board chairperson, Addington Chinake said. Simbisa was demerged from Innscor Africa Limited last year and listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange in November.