BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Industry and Commerce deputy minister Raj Modi says business should uphold ethical standards and repay borrowed funds.
Modi was speaking to captains of industry during the CZI/ZITF Buyers-Sellers Forum in Bulawayo yesterday, where he said companies that were seriously looking to expand production and venture into export markets should consider the $30 million government fund for retooling.
“Emphasis will be placed on efficient utilisation of these funds and need I add, it is critical at this juncture that while other countries and financial institutions have demonstrated a willingness to extend lines of credit to the private sector, that we reflect highest levels of business ethics and financial discipline, particularly on the utilisation of such loan funds and repayment thereof,” he said.
Modi said this had ripple effects of unlocking yet more funding, which they needed at this point.
“We are also exploring possible partnerships with local financial institutions like pension funds and insurance companies for possible crowdfunding this facility to enable mobilisation of more resources”.
“I do know that $30 million allocated through the budget is not adequate to meet all our requirements of supporting industry, hence the engagement of a number of development partners who include Afrexim Bank, to support exporting companies”.
He said they were looking at finalising the processes to allow beneficiaries to access the funds and utilise them to improve their export capacity.
“We need to generate foreign currency to fund our critical imports and this facility, once accessible, companies are encouraged to utilise it fully. Our products have become uncompetitive in the external markets and it is my hope that exporting companies will take heed and remodel their production process as competition for markets is tougher with the advancement of technology,” he said.