The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
BULAWAYO is on the right path to regaining its status as the industrial hub of the country with key development initiatives taking place at various companies being a clear testimony.
Speaking after touring Zambezi Tanners and the Zimbabwe Grain Bags Production projects which are being implemented by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce under the 100-Day Cycle Programme, Minister for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring Implementation of Government Programmes, Dr Joram Gumbo said the development initiatives at the two companies were a clear testimony that the city was fast regaining its industrial hub status.
He said the 100-Day Target Based Programme was a deliberate attempt by Government to address anomalies associated with project implementation.
Dr Gumbo said their expectation was that the programme would lead to the realisation of developmental goals as set out in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) blueprint and subsequently the attainment of Vision 2030 through close monitoring and evaluation of projects by Government.
“It is not by coincidence that Government has embarked on massive and deliberate rehabilitation and reconstruction of industrial sites as a response to the economic challenges which have characterized the last decade.
“There are, however, various challenges affecting the smooth operation of Zambezi Tanners, these include delayed release of funds from the foreign currency auction bids, delays in shipment of equipment and low foreign currency retention levels. I will be engaging the responsible authorities with a view to resolving these challenges,” he said.
Dr Gumbo said industries found it difficult to retool because they could not access cheap financing due to the illegal sanctions, as a result, most industries were forced to close and the City of Bulawayo lost its status as the country’s industrial hub and the monikor Kontuthu Ziyathunqa also lost its relevance.
The Minister said he was pleased with the Zambezi Tanners level of capacity utilisation which increased from an average monthly output of 90 tonnes for the past three years to the current capacity of over 150 tonnes per month.
He said the Zimbabwe Grain Bag had diversified and extended its range of products to provide standard packing for seed maize, fertilizer, sugar, mealie-meal and mineral ores bulk packaging, with indications that the company could produce up to four million bags per month when operating at full capacity.