GWERU-BASED Bata Shoe Company has said it plans to open a $500 000 gumboot factory by May this year after the product line was disbanded at the height of hyper-inflation in 2008.
By Stephen Chadenga
Company managing director Ehsan Zaman said they had already started setting up equipment at the plant.
“We have made half a million dollars investment for the production of gumboots,” he said during a tour of the company on Tuesday.
“We should be able to begin production of gumboots in April or by end of May. We should also produce safety and industrial shoes for the local market. Currently, we are importing the gumboots from South Africa and Zambia.”
Zaman said although the government had already approved the investment proposal, they were appealing for the speedy allocation of foreign currency for importation of material.
He said last year, the company re-introduced Sandak and Pata Pata brands for the local and export markets.
“We produce 1,5 million Pata Patas per year and we have also been able to expand our export market to Malawi, Zambia and Botswana for our variety of shoe products,” Zaman said.
“We are also expanding our export markets to Kenya and South Africa. Our shoe products are in demand both locally and abroad because they are durable, but affordable.”
Bata is the biggest shoe manufacturer in the country, with 1 245 workers.
At its peak, the company had a 5 000-strong workforce, but the number dwindled over the years due to the economic downturn.