via Bakhresa gets work permit for CEO | The Herald November 10, 2015
Tanzanian milling company, Bakhresa can now appoint a foreign chief executive at Blue Ribbon Industries after the Immigration Department last week issued the requisite work permit. The permit paves the way for the milling giant to immediately start the process to inject $20 million to turnaround the local miller, briefly shut down in 2011 due to serious funding problems.
Bakhresa Group vice president Mr Ramesk Kumar said after signing the deal last month the milling giant would invest a further $20 million in Blue Ribbon in the next five years to expand operations. The investment will enable Blue Ribbon to clear debts to creditors and workers, increase production and preserve hundreds of jobs at the company. The miller is operating at about 40 percent average capacity.
Earlier attempts by the Affirmative Action Group, through its president Mr Chamu Chiwanza, to scuttle the appointment of a foreigner to the helm of Blue Ribbon stoked fears the deal could collapse. The pressure group even wrote to Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo voicing its concerns over plans to appoint a foreign CEO at Blue Ribbon. AAG argued there is abundant human capital in Zimbabwe.
Blue Ribbon judicial manager Mr Reggie Saruchera yesterday confirmed that the Immigration Department had issued the work permit. “We got the approval (for the work permit), we are now working on the way forward. We are now waiting for the investor to inject money, there is nothing the investor should wait for (anymore),” he said.
Mr Saruchera said the Immigration Department had made an independent decision on the application they had made, adding there had never been need for the minister’s intervention in the matter.
“We placed (application) papers with the Immigration Department and they made the decision on their own. We heard AAG wrote a letter to the minister, but there was no need for the minister’s intervention and so we were dealing directly with immigration,” he said. The investment will breathe new lease of life in three Blue Ribbon subsidiaries namely, Blue Ribbons Foods, Nutresco Foods and JA Mitchell.
BRI is the second largest food and milling company in Zimbabwe after Natfoods. Blue Ribbon Foods is a wheat and maize milling and stock feed manufacturer while Nutresco’s manufactures mainly peanut butter, corn soya blend, and mahewu and soya chunks. Bakhresa’s operations are spread across Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa.
It employees about 10 000 people in various companies under the group’s investments primarily in food and beverages, packaging, logistics, marine passenger services, petroleum and entertainment sectors. The Bakhresa Group has grain milling capacity of 5 000 tonnes per day with the potential to increase to 6 000 tonnes by end of this year.