via Bimha submits ‘state of industry’ report to Mugabe – DailyNews Live 10 October 2014 by John Kachembere
HARARE – Industry minister, Mike Bimha, says he has submitted a state of the industry report to President Robert Mugabe and the Cabinet.
Mugabe had requested Bimha to compile a detailed report on the moribund sector, with a view to finding solutions to challenges bedevilling the sector.
This comes as a Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) report released yesterday revealed that Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector has deteriorated further, with capacity utilisation declining by 3,3 percentage points to 36,3 percent in the year to September 2014.
“The (state of industry report) results would be made public once we have deliberated them,” Bimha said at the launch of the CZI report. He said he was confident that results of the report would go a long way in addressing deindustrialisation taking place in most towns across the country.
In an effort to resuscitate the country’s ailing industry, the Zanu PF-led government crafted the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset), which focuses on beneficiation and value addition.
Other initiatives to help heal the economic malaise include setting up of Special Economic Zones by the government and re-engaging the international community including the Bretton Woods institutions.
Zimbabwe’s industry is still hamstrung by a number of macroeconomic challenges that have seen companies shut down and thousands of employees being laid off amid fears the country’s average capacity utilisation has crumbled to about 30 percent.
A 2013 National Social Security Authority Harare report for the year to July 2013 indicated that 711 companies closed down in Harare alone, rendering 8 336 individuals jobless.
In addition, many companies are downsizing and have retrenched tens of thousands of their employees, condemning them to a gloomy future. Nearly 100 companies have closed down in Bulawayo since 2010, putting out of work an estimated 20 000 workers, with the remaining companies scaling down their operations or relocating to Harare.
Major companies that have retrenched, according to the report, include platinum miners Zimplats and Unki, Bindura Nickel Corporation, Spar supermarkets, Dairibord, Cairns, Olivine Industries and PG Industries. Bimha said he had also requested the President to meet with captains of industry before the end of the year.
“At Cabinet, you get time to talk to the President about your ministry. Mine came at 7:30pm Tuesday night. I told the President before year end, we would want captains of industries to come and see you and talk to you about the economy. And he said they were welcome and that would have been done yesterday. Then you can tell the story and how you see it,” Bimha said.