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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Zim industrialisation target on course

Story by Stanley James, Business Editor

MORE companies are lined up for commissioning this year as Zimbabwe targets 70 percent manufacturing industry capacity utilisation.

The past four years have seen the government focusing on the growth and revival of the industry through several policy interventions.

A combination of the auction system, removal of duty on selected machinery and equipment, injection of cheap funds, and allocation of Special Drawing Rights for the industry has ignited hopes for the resuscitation of strategic industries.

With the industry maintaining a growth path, the injection of capital into several entities is boosting growth.

According to a Ministry of Industry and Commerce report submitted to Cabinet last week, there is notable progress in terms of the revival and commissioning of firms.

This includes the resuscitation of David Whitehead Textiles in Chegutu, which is being installed with new spinning and weaving machinery.

When complete, the project is expected to create over 1 000 jobs and reduce textiles and clothing imports.

Olivine Industries is also back on the growth trajectory with the firm expected to commission a multi-million-dollar margarine plant.

A US$five million Margarine Plant at Willowton in Mutare has also been cited by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce as a success story amid revelations that it has reached 85 percent level and is expected to produce over 150 tonnes of margarine.

In a move expected to further boost the production of bread in the country, Bakers Inn has already invested US$30 million United on a new bakery plant in Bulawayo.

The plant which is now the largest in the country will produce over 200 000 loaves of bread per day. 

A US$11 million Buffalo Brewing Company plant in Stapleford, Mashonaland West Province is also functional ahead of its commissioning this year.

The latest manufacturing sector survey report indicated commitment and willingness by the industry to increase output and create jobs.

The move is also expected to further increase local product stock on retail shelves, ease food imports and save foreign currency.

Government interventions in the sector have resulted in capacity utilisation for the sector being on a positive trajectory at 56,1 percent in 2022, 56,52 percent in 2021, 47 percent in 2020, 36,4 percent in 2019, and 41,8 percent in 2018.

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