Gweru privatises Go-Beer farms

GWERU City Council finance director, Edgar Mwedzi yesterday disclosed that the local authority is in the process of registering a private company to oversee the running of Go-Beer Breweries farms as part of the local authority’s efforts to revive the beer concern.

BY STEPHEN CHADENGA

Mwedzi said in the past Go-Beer assets were run through a charter, which he said was outside the confines of the municipal law.

“Council is in the process of registering a private company to run former Go-Beer farms and assets. Unlike previous years, we want to establish a firm which operates within the confines of the law,” Mwedzi said at the 2018 budget review meeting with the business community.

He said since the country’s economy was dollarised in 2009, the cash-strapped council has to date bankrolled the beer concern to the tune of $2 208 914, money he said was channelled towards payment of former Go-Beer creditors and employees who had sued the council.

The city treasurer said the beer concern lost equipment and cattle, which were attached to cover retrenchment costs.

Mwedzi, however, said council has so far managed to pay packages for all retrenched workers.

Currently the municipality employs 26 people who work at Go-Beer farms and as security guards.

The finance boss revealed that revenues of $200 000 and $54 600 were expected from wheat (400 tonnes) and maize (140 tonnes) to be harvested at the farms.

Mwedzi said command agriculture had boosted activities at the farms through input provision.

Council last year announced that it was looking at partnering a private investor to revive Go-Beer Breweries, which closed four years ago after facing viability challenges.

Council shut down the brewery in July 2014 after it had become a financial burden.

“We are looking for strategic partners to resuscitate the manufacturing plant at the brewery,” Mwedzi said at the meeting.

He said Go-Beer beerhalls that were sub-let were contributing revenue through rentals and that between January and August 31, had injected $54 046 into the council coffers.

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