Tinomuda Chakanyuka, Senior Reporter
PROMINENT Bulawayo businessman and Zanu-PF National Assembly candidate for Bulawayo South constituency Cde Raj Modi has partnered an India-based firm, Kanti Council Services (KCS) to set up a $7 million solar equipment manufacturing factory in Belmont, Bulawayo.
In an interview, Cde Modi said the solar equipment manufacturing plant, set to be opened in August this year, will create close to 200 jobs.
Cde Modi said the plant would manufacture solar geysers and solar panels to help reduce importation of solar products into the country.
He said local manufacturing of solar equipment will ensure that the products are available at affordable prices and help reduce demand of electricity from the national grid.
“Our target is for every home to have a solar geyser and those that want, to have solar panels. This will reduce demand for electricity from the national grid.
“We have set aside $7 million for the plant which we are setting up on a 3 000 square metre piece of land in Belmont.
“Representatives from KCS were here in Bulawayo during the ZITF period where we sealed the deal which is expected to see about 200 jobs being created in Bulawayo,” he said.
Cde Modi said the firm will initially import components of solar equipment for assembling locally before moving to full scale local manufacturing after a year of operation.
He said the first consignment of the components was expected in the country in August when operations are also expected to start.
“We are expecting the first consignment to arrive in August for us to start operations. We will be assembling here initially for a couple of months but we expect to move into local manufacturing after a year or even less.
“As a country we should be moving towards embracing solar energy. It’s affordable and friendly to the environment among a host of other advantages,” he said.
Cde Modi, through his Sai Enterprises, is also constructing a $12 million shopping complex on a 9 000 square metre piece of land in Cowdray Park, Bulawayo.
He said construction work which begun in June last year was progressing well and on track to be complete by end of this year.
“As you know, I’m also constructing a shopping complex in Cowdray Park. We are halfway through with the project and we are on track to finish the work on schedule.
“These projects will go a long way in creating employment in Bulawayo.
I have committed myself to do whatever I can to contribute towards the development of Bulawayo and employment creation,” he said.
The multi-million dollar shopping complex is expected to comprise a main supermarket, over 40 shops, a bank, a medical service centre, fast food outlets and parking bays.
Last week Cde Modi committed $40 000 towards the refurbishment of the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) owned Sidojiwe hostels in Belmont.
The refurbishment work will cover installation of flush toilets, showers, repairing of the lighting system, replacement of window panes as well as refurbishment of laundry rooms.
Cde Modi is also constructing eight toilets at Greenfield Primary School following requests from the school authorities.