via CZI boss wants land ownership reversed 11/04/2014 NewZimbabwe
CONFEDERATIONS of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) deputy president Henry Nemaire has called on government to restore full ownership of some rich agricultural land in Manicaland to its more productive former owners.
The land was earmarked for compulsory acquisition under government’s controversial land reform programme, rendering the companies still on the land incapable of putting long term plans on it.
But iIn an interview with NewZimbabwe.com this week, Nemaire said government should deeply consider delisting the farms, something that should see title deeds returned to the commercially viable companies.
This, he said, shall allow the agro-based firms to access funds from The Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank, commonly known as PTA bank, and other financial institutions using title deeds.
“Land for companies such Border Timbers, Wattle Company, Makandi, Tongaat Hullet should be delisted so that they get the title deeds, which they can use to borrow huge sums for recapitalisation and re-tooling,” said Nemaire.
He said re-tooling of local companies with state of the art machinery was key, as it would give them leverage to compete with other manufacturers in countries in regions such as Southern Africa, Europe and Asia.
“There is need for urgent re-tooling and acquiring of world class standard machinery. If you get modern technology that produce high quality products then you can compete with foreign markets,” said CZI vice president.
Nemaire’s call came as most local firms are failing to finance their operations in a business environment that is suffocating under the current liquidity crunch.
Companies such as Karina, Border Timbers, Cairns Holdings, Quest Motors, Tanganda, Wattle, which used to employ thousands, have either closed down or are now operating below capacity.
The land reform programme, hailed as a big success by the Zanu PF government, also impacted negatively on production as most farms such as Makandi Estates and Kondozi which used to produce coffee and farm produce for international market.
The beneficiaries were influential Zanu-PF politicians who had no meaningful expertise in the trade.
Recently, Chris Mushohwe, minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Manicaland bemoaned continued closure of companies in the province, saying “locals were not benefitting from their natural resources”.