By ZBC Reporter
THE government has expressed commitment to ensuring the success of the devolution agenda through partnering corporates in transforming livelihoods in rural communities.
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony of Allied Timbers’ Cashel Sawmill plant in Chimanimani this Thursday, Environment, Climate change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Honourable Mangaliso Ndlovu said the development dovetails into government’s devolution agenda which seeks to economically empower communities.
“As government we are very much pleased with the progress we are noting here at Allied Timbers. They have committed to seeing this company grow. Today we mark the start of a positive development that will see the local community benefit while also advancing government’s thrust of development,” he said.
The company’s Board Chairperson Mr Itai Ndudzo said the six million United States dollar plant is expected to create employment for the local community while also generating at least 10 million United States dollars per year when the project is complete.
“From its design capacity, the new Cashel Sawmill will allow ATZ to produce 40 000 cubic metres of kiln-dried timber per year. This entails producing 3000 cubic metres per month. Upon completion this plant will generate employment for the local community,” he noted.
Chief Donald Mutambara from Chimanimani challenged the company to invest in community relations through empowering locals.
“We are delighted with the ongoing progress that we have just received from the company. They promised that they will employ at least 95% of the local community and that is exactly what we are looking forward to because they are so many idle youths in my community.”
Chimanimani East Legislator Hon Joshua Sacco expressed appreciation towards the project while also urging Allied Timbers to put more efforts towards reforestation.
“I am greatly appreciative of this USD$6 million investment which I believe will be a great asset for our community. We have been calling over and over for the recapitalisation of the company so we are pleased with the results. However we urge the company to reforest and replant more trees,” said Sacco.
The state-owned listed company is now on a recovery path after a fire accident that gutted down its main plant in Chimanimani a couple of years ago.
The company is working on a recapitalisation plan which will see Allied Timbers commissioning two sawmills in Manicaland Province.