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Economy

Companies increase production

Two State-owned entities involved in fertiliser and household products manufacturing, are investing in increased production in development that shows heightened confidence in the economy despite some challenges being experienced.

This came out during a tour of Chemplex Holdings and Olivine Industries by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce yesterday.

Government has interest in the entities through the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), with 100 percent shareholding in Chemplex while there is a partnership with Surface Wilmar.

Olivine chief executive officer, Mr Sylvester Mangani, said the company was investing US$24 million into a new margarine plant to meet demand.

He said the entity was currently producing 500 tonnes of margarine a month, which would increase to 4 500 tonnes when the new plant is installed.

“The whole idea is to improve the quality and the quantity of the product and have some for export because at the moment we are mainly producing for the local market,” he said.

He, however said Olivine could do more with increased Government support, especially timely disbursement of foreign currency requirements and timeous processing of loans from the IDC.

Chemplex acting chief executive officer, Mr James Chigwende, thanked the Government for the $170 million that had been extended by the IDC in 2020 and this year.

Part of the money went towards expansion of the fertiliser granulating and blending plants.

The two plants are being installed at a cost of approximately US$2,5 million.

The blending plant is capable of producing 200 000 tonnes per annum and saves the country a lot of foreign currency.

Mr Chigwende also said local demand has been increasing annually from about 340 000 tonnes three years ago to 630 000 tonnes last year.

He attributed the increase to Government’s policies of supporting farmers through various input support schemes.

The committee’s chairperson, Cde Joshua Sacco, said they were pleased by the expansion of the two companies to improve capacity utilisation saying this was critical in ensuring the success of the import substitution policy.

He pledged the committee’s support in ensuring that IDC got more budgetary support for onward support to entities it has shareholding in.

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