BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
VARUM Beverages on Friday donated 120 fridges to businesspeople who lost their properties during the January disturbances. The firm also donated 300 cooler boxes and beverages to women in Bulawayo to start new businesses.
Giving his welcome remarks, Industry and Commerce deputy minister, Raji Modi, who is also Pintail Trading managing director, said investigations carried out revealed that businesses in Bulawayo suffered huge losses in revenue, production and property during the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions-organised protests.
“The after-effects of the disturbances have seen some companies being distressed and failing to restock and recover,” Modi said.
“It is critical to note that Bulawayo Metropolitan Province suffered the most devastating damage to (especially) the industry and commerce fraternity. Of the 181 shops and other business entities that were visited, a total loss of $19 416 492,72 was recorded. This figure is inclusive of stock lost, equipment and property damaged,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa said the donation will go a long way in empowering women and improving their welfare.
“The effort by this company is highly commendable and I hope that other businesses will learn from this noble gesture. I want to call upon the businesses sector to be more aggressive and take advantage of Zimbabwe is open for business mantra…,” she said.
Varum chief operating officer and executive director, Vijay Kumar Bahl implored the beneficiaries to put the equipment to good use in order to realise intended benefits. He also urged them to respect the law.
The country, between January 14 and 16, witnessed widespread violence, 17 deaths and rampant destruction of property, as well as stoppage of business activities during the national shutdown triggered by fuel price increases.