The Sunday News
Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
ONE of India’s biggest and international acclaimed textile firms Shreejikrupa Spinners is considering investing over $40 million towards setting up a plant in Bulawayo soon.
Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister Raj Modi told Sunday News Business that the Indian had shown interest in setting up a polyester manufacturing plant in Bulawayo. This comes after his successful business tour of the Asian country two weeks ago.
“I can confirm that Shreejikrupa Spinners has indicated intention to come and set up a polyester plant here in Bulawayo whereby the company will come with the latest technology of recycling plastic into polyester,” he said.
A number of textile players in most developed countries have resorted to recycling plastic bottles into soft polyester thread to make eco-friendly clothing.
Plastic bottles are made of polyethylene (PET), a form of polyester that is mostly associated with a fabric used in clothing and interiors. However, both are actually polymers, a derivative of fossil fuels. The fabric made out of the PET fibre is basically polypropylene and it is ten times stronger than a normal polyester fabric.
“The company officials expressed interest to come for feasibility studies as early as next month thus they are only waiting for us to give us the nod to visit the country. If they are satisfied with the prospects of recouping their investment they are likely to pour in as much as over $40 million into the project,” said Dep Minister Modi.
He said the project was expected to play a massive impact in the revival of Bulawayo’s industry and contribute immensely to the country’s economic turnaround efforts.
“The project will obviously benefit Bulawayo immensely in terms of employment creation, not only from it but downstream industries as well. It will obviously fill the massive void of unemployment, which has been accelerated by the effects of de-industrialisation. On the other hand the investor we are talking about has big capacity to fulfil the local demand for polyester because at the moment we are relying on imports,” said Dep Minister Modi.
Prospects of Shreejikrupa Spinners setting up a plant in Bulawayo are high in light of the fact that the Government has designated the city as the beef and leather value chain and textiles and clothing Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
By their nature SEZs are attractive to foreign investors as they cover a broad range of economic activities, such as free trade zones, export-processing zones, industrial parks, economic and technology development zones, high-tech zones, science and innovation parks, free ports, enterprise zones, and others.
The country’s textile industry has over the past two decades been at its lowest ebb.
Zimbabwe Clothing Manufacturers Association chairperson Mr Jeremy Youmans said the country’s textile sector was still reeling under a myriad of challenges with the revival of most of the companies uncertain.
“The textile sector continues to struggle with no end in sight of the revival of David Whitehead and Kadoma Textiles constrained in its range of goods and quantity it can supply. The clothing sector can take all of this output many times over, but has to import the 90 percent of fabrics required which are not made in Zimbabwe.
There is hope that Merlin in Bulawayo will succeed in getting up and running and they are intending to make poly cotton fabrics, which will fill a big gap in the market. As a (clothing) sector, we continue to support the textile mills as best as we can,” said Mr Youmans.
Shreejikrupa Spinners is a fast growing company headquartered in Rajpipla with a textile division, producing a range of products, and a global trading. Established in 2011 as a textile spinning plant with 28 000 spindles in Amletha Village, Rajpipla, Shreejikrupa has grown from strength to strength from its humble beginnings, with steady growth in its textile division and a constant outlook of diversifying its operation.
The company offers a wide assortment of products that includes surgical cotton, sewing thread, slub yarn, citra yarn, knitting yarn, mélange yarn, weaving yarn and multifilament twisted yarn.