LOCAL cement producer, PPC Zimbabwe, has invested over $120 million in different projects in Zimbabwe since 2009 and is looking forward to do more, managing director, Kelibone Masiyane has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Masiyane told NewsDay in an interview that the company was here to stay in Zimbabwe, judging by its level of investment.
“We have invested over $120 million [since 2009]. Recently, we just commissioned the Harare plant at a cost of $82 million. In Collen Bawn we installed modern great cooler at a cost of over $35 million. Here in Bulawayo we have done quite a number of initiatives involving installing bulk handling systems, palletisers as well,” he said.
“So we have actually spent quite a lot of money. We have invested because we believe that we want to support local manufacturing just as the government is saying. So as PPC we have played our part.”
“You can imagine even the decision to build our Harare plant. One had to consider which is better, do we import cement or clinker from South Africa or we invest in Zimbabwe. So we, because cement is a long time business we are not looking at current issues only, we look at long-term and we do believe that Zimbabwe will make a turn and that investment will start paying for itself,” he said.
Masiyane revealed that they have started reaping the benefits from the Harare plant installed last year.
“I mean like currently we can see that ramp up is beyond our expectations. So we are pushing some volumes in Harare. So from a footprint point of view we do believe that it was a right decision to do and Zimbabwe is just waiting to turn,” he said.
He, however, bemoaned cement imports that were finding their way into the country despite the existence of import restriction measures put by the government.
“As a business operating in Zimbabwe, imports obviously have a challenge and they do apply pressure on the volumes and pricing. The challenge on imports is that they are coming from regions where product is made cheaper compared to Zimbabwe. They take away the capacity in terms of what we are able to make local,” he said.
“This is why we are engaging the government to try and get assistance around that to see how we can in the meantime reduce imports. But over and above what we can do internally as businesses we also need support from the government in terms of creating that enabling environment.”