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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Bus and truck manufacturing industry pleads for production modernisation

Story by Owen Mandovha, Business Reporter

THE bus and truck manufacturing industry has pleaded for maximum support to stay afloat and modernise the production process in line with changing market trends.

Bus manufacturing firm, AVM, was the heartbeat of the Zimbabwe transport industry with staggering employment figures exceeding 4 000 and a production capacity of 300 buses annually.

Speaking at a symposium organised by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in Harare this Tuesday, the firm’s managing director, Mr Jacob Kupa bemoaned the lack of market support after production nosedived to a mere five buses per month.

“Our company is only left with less than 200 employees from as high as 4 000 during our peak and we are only producing less than 5 buses per month mainly because we have no support from the likes of ZUPCO which ordinarily would be our key support pillar by procuring our buses,” he said.

Willovale Motor Industries chief executive officer, Mr Dzinotyiwei Matanhire said the industry’s failure to keep up with changing technology requires a holistic response.

“The fact that the industry requires extensive capital injection is real to upgrade production systems but equally, the motoring industry can fire up economic development if fully supported and one thing that requires a look is that of vehicle financing where banks need to come to the party and provide a ready offtake framework for local manufacturers,”

In response, Ministry of Industry and Commerce Permanent Secretary, Mr Thomas Ushe stressed the importance of modernising the value chain.

He said, “There is a need to modernise and upgrade the value chain of the bus and trucking industry to produce buses and trucks that meet local market needs. That means a recapitalisation drive of the industry because if you look at the current situation, stakeholders are preferring to import than rely on locally produced and assembled buses and trucks.”

An efficient and robust bus and trucking industry is expected to trigger a chain reaction in revitalising related sub-sectors such as the tyre, glass, and upholstery services.

At the moment, imports from China are mainly satisfying local market needs.

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