Yeukai Tazira Herald Reporter
A French multinational is doubling Zimbabwean production of tile adhesives, plasters and boards through a US$1 million investment in new equipment that was commissioned yesterday at Saint-Gobain Gyproc Construction Products in Harare.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce Dr Mavis Sibanda commissioned the plant on behalf of Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza.
In a speech read on her behalf, the minister said the plant will go a long way in contributing to the economy and creating employment.
“The manufacturing sector has been operating with antiquated machinery and it is important for us to come up with a comprehensive retooling strategy for our industry. In this vein, I would like to applaud Saint-Gobain for taking the initiative to acquire a weber plant valued at US$1 million which we are launching today.
“It is, therefore, heartening that leading companies such as Saint-Gobain are showing confidence in Government’s efforts to develop the manufacturing sector through expanding existing operations.
Minister Nzenza said she was optimistic the increase in capacity will attract foreign investment.
“I am pleased to note that the expansion of Saint-Gobain’s productive capacity will increase the company’s capacity to export into the region particularly in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, thereby earning the much needed foreign currency,” she said.
“Government has set a vision for Zimbabwe to become an upper middle income country by 2030. In order for the vision to be achieved, Government pledges to continue improving the business environment, in line with the stated thrust of this year’s National Budget: ‘Gearing for Higher Productivity, Growth and Job Creation’ as well as Strong, Sustainable and Shared Development. In this regard, we note that Zimbabwe has improved in the ease of doing business ranking from 155 to 140,” she said.
French Ambassador Richard Boidin said that the investment will help cement the bilateral relations between France and Zimbabwe.
“It is important for me to encourage French companies to choose Zimbabwe as the destination for the productive and industrial investment. A company like Saint-Gobain’s decision to invest here is a strong signal and a strong message,’’ he said.
Saint-Gobain’s Zimbabwe general manager Mr David Zimano said the plant uses solar energy.
“We are particularly proud that the Weber plant is environmentally-friendly as it is solar-powered. This plant is 100 percent off grid and is able to fully function 365 days a year on solar energy,” he said.