BY JULIA NDLELA/JOTHAM GUTSA
THE multinational RJ Corporation has opened a US$2 million plastic manufacturing plant in Harare.
Innovative Plastics, which will operate as an RJ subsidiary, manufactures household products which include tables, chairs, buckets and plates.
Industry and Commerce permanent secretary Mavis Sibanda toured the firm on Tuesday and applauded the initiative as the company not only looks at supplying internally, but also exporting to neighbouring countries.
She said the opening of Innovative Plastics was in line with government’s blueprint, the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS 1).
“We want to see them export to neighbouring countries and this will also cut down on imports of these high-quality products that our people have been importing from other countries,” she said.
“This is what we call structural transformation. We are using high technology tools to produce and this is part of our NDS 1.”
Sibanda added that the ministry aimed to create a vibrant economy through opening of industries and resuscitation of the ailing ones.
“As a ministry, we are looking at promoting industrialisation, looking at creation of new industries, resuscitation of ailing industries so that there is improvement in terms of commerce,” she said.
The company employs 100 people and is looking to employ more as it expands.
“It is a new entity and we are creating jobs for the community. As we speak, we have 100 people that were not employed, but now have jobs and can take care of their families, and that to me is a good contribution to vision 2030,” RJ Corporation vice-president Fungai Murahwa said.
“We no longer have to spend the hard-earned foreign currency to buy from other countries for something that is now produced locally.”
The products that the people used to import from China and South Africa are now manufactured locally at affordable prices, he said.
High technology machinery was purchased to ensure standardised products, with employees trained for a week on how to operate the machinery, he added.
“A rough estimate of the money spent so far is a little over US$2 million, only covering machinery that is already here, but there is more that was ordered that’s on the way,” Murahwa said.
Government is looking to resuscitate the manufacturing sector afflicted by antiquated equipment and foreign currency shortages.
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries had projected a 61% capacity utilisation for the manufacturing sector last year, but reaching this target has been hampered by exchange rate volatility and power outages, among other challenges.