EFFORTS to revive industries here gained momentum in 2021, resulting in improved capacity utilisation for several companies and, going forward, more attention will be given to assisting ailing firms and resuscitating some of the closed operations, Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister, Raj Modi, has said.
Unlike in recent years, where the second largest city suffered massive closure and relocation of big companies, the tide is turning as more companies are now expanding capacity and growing their export footprint.
The turnaround is happening at a time when the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa is working closely with the private sector to roll out comprehensive economic reforms under the mantra “Zimbabwe is open for business”.
Already, giant Bulawayo companies such as diversified Treger Group of Companies, Archer Clothing and United Refineries Limited, Sheppco BMA Fasteners, Metal Founders, Datlabs, Kango Products, Zambezi Tanners, General Beltings and Arenel, to mention a few, are emerging stronger despite the Covid-19 strain and other economic constraints affecting the country.
The President visited Bulawayo and toured some of the top performing companies in May where he expressed excitement about the re-industrialisation drive and commended private sector leaders for embracing innovation to drive their resuscitation.
Reflecting on these milestones, Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister Modi, who is also a local businessman and Bulawayo South legislator, said more positive prospects lay ahead for the city’s businesses.
“Definitely we are very positive about the gains achieved so far. 2021 ended on a positive note and we are going forward to achieve more,” said the deputy minister.
“You can also see that companies like National Blankets, which was closed some years back, is now on its feet and we are helping it to retool.
“We expect this company to come out stronger and the Government is prepared to support it. We are looking at such industries according to sectoral value chains and we expect many factories to re-open. We are working to resuscitate more and big things will happen in Bulawayo.”
Deputy Minister Modi also said the Government was pushing the revival of the Cold Storage Company (CSC), which is expected to play a key role in the beef and leather value chain strategy.
“The rehabilitation of the CSC factory has already started and recently they conducted a test run. We hope by January they will start recruiting back workers and this will create more job opportunities,” he said.
“We are keen on the value chain focus for this company. We are saying to business leaders let’s work together with the Government and there is nothing impossible. We will certainly revive and transform Bulawayo industries.”
As local and international supply chains continue to bear the brunt of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic disruption, Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Judith Ncube, has also urged businesses to embrace innovative and map concrete strategies to accelerate domestic production.
To complement the recovery momentum, Bulawayo businessman and former Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) president Mr Obert Sibanda has stressed the need for ailing companies to revisit their business models saying some have been overtaken by events.