BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
PRODUCTION in the textile sector in Zimbabwe remained subdued in 2018, hovering at around 40% of capacity utilisation due to foreign currency shortages and other challenges, Zimbabwe Textile Manufacturers’ Association secretary-general, Raymond Huni, has said.
Huni told NewsDay that the sector was still facing a number of challenges, chief among them foreign currency shortages and the unabated influx of cheap imports.
“Production was at about 40% in the textile industry for the year 2018. The forex issue affected the industry as textile is not on priority list with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,” Huni said.
“We propose that Reserve Bank places textile on its priority list so as to add value on products manufactured locally and that creates employment locally. Most companies are on short term planning due to reasons stated above,” he said.
The textile sector, at its prime, used to employ about 24 000 people, but less than 4 000 are now under its payroll.
Textile players, David Whitehead, Merspin, National Blankets, Karina Textiles and Modzone Enterprises have either shut down or are under judicial management.
Recently, the Association of Cotton Value Adders of Zimbabwe bemoaned the collapse of giant textile companies, which it said was affecting local value-addition of seed cotton.
Zimbabwe Clothing Manufacturers’ Association chairman, Jeremy Youmans, urged government to expedite the agreement made between the clothing and textile sectors to promote the development of both sectors and the cotton value-chain in general.
The agreement requires that certain legal, procedural and economic issues be implemented by government.
“The agreement was very well thought out and derived, and needs to be implemented in its entirety to enable the full realisation of the benefits. We continue to liaise with the relevant ministries but in the meantime, the sectors are still constrained,” he said.