By Yolanda Moyo
Captains of industry in Bulawayo are optimistic of enhanced production capacity growth, following government’s commitment to revive the country’s industrial hub.
The down turn of agricultural sector at the turn of the millennium affected a number of manufacturing companies in Zimbabwe, with such firms as Archer clothing, now Paramount garments and United Refineries Limited in Bulawayo greatly affected.
Despite facing these challenges, these companies have remained resilient and after the visit by President Emmerson Mnangagwa this Friday, there is confidence of an increased production capacity.
“The prospects of us expanding are very high. We had a discussion today with the ministers and the President and we highlighted that raw material supply is a critical need that we have. He has given us a pledge of support for various initiatives like contract farming, out grower for cotton.
“We have strong brands that have been here for years. We are an 86-year-old and we would like to take our rightful place in the market. We need to buy more in order to expand as a member of the clothing industry,” said Busisa Moyo, CEO of United Refineries Limited.
Retooling of industry and implementation of friendly policies has been identified as key drivers in sustaining the industry.
Paramount Garment CEO Shane Beamish said, “We want to get equipment that is more fuel efficient that is more electricity efficient and better output. However, we are currently not able to supply enough raw material feed stock to our current capacity. So, it’s a balance between getting new technology that is usually at a higher capacity than what we have.
“Production capacity can be increased once we automate this plant, the impact of second hand clothing is massive. We cannot compete with the importation of garments that effectively have a low sales price, so it hurts Zimbabwean jobs. We would like less porous borders and we would like goods stopped at entry.”
Bulawayo has the second highest gross domestic product in the country at US$3000 per capita.