By Farai Matiashe
Automobile manufacturer Quest motors has urged government departments and local authorities to put a stop to the importation of its vehicles and procure locally to support the local motor industry.
Quest general manager Thomas Sarimana told journalists during a tour of the manufacturer’s plant that by importing cars, government was exporting jobs.
“We need to take action and corrective measures, and the time is now to save what is left in the country. Our industry is shrinking. It is so sad that we continue to import cars and busses that can be assembled locally and create jobs and save forex,” he said.
“Austerity starts at home. We can’t talk of austerity when we are exporting jobs and money to our neigbours. We need to learn from our counterparts in the region and internationally”.
The firm currently holds franchise licence to manufacture various automobiles such as JMC, Zhongtong and Yutong busses, Foton trucks and Massey Ferguson tractors.
“It’s so sad that even local authorities have followed suit. We pay rates, but they can’t even support local companies by buying even a tractor. How do they expect us to pay our rates?” Sarimana said.
“We have supplied vehicles to government since time immemorial, but we do not know what has changed. We supplied CMED with UG 780, CBP Nissan Diesel and CWA 45 which are over 20 years now, but still running.”
Quest used to employ 5 000 workers at its peak, but now only has a workforce of 100.
Sarimana said Quest partnered with a Malaysian company Proton to assemble Proton sedan, MPV Proton (Volvo), Proton X70 an SUV, which will be built to suit the local terrain.