Dimaf boosts Byo firms
BULAWAYO companies that benefited from the Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund (Dimaf) have reported positive results.
The $40 million joint industry package was introduced in 2011 supported by the Government and Old Mutual through its banking unit, CABS.
About 48 companies, about half of them from Bulawayo, have received loans worth $28 million from the fund since 2011.
Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha heard that some of the fund beneficiaries were now making an impact in the export market through producing quality goods which have attracted foreign buyers.
General Beltings general manager Mr Joseph Gunda told Minister Bimha during a tour of companies in the city recently that his company was making strides in the export market.
The conveyor belts manufacturer beneficiary of Dimaf.
“We’re making strides in exports. We’re working on an order worth about $67 000 from South Africa,” said Mr Gunda.
He said his company makes conveyor belts in excess of 12 000m a month against demand of about 10 000m, which leaves them with more for export.
Mr Gunda bemoaned the influx of cheap imports, which threaten their business.
The minister also visited refrigeration maker, Ref-Air, where managing director Mr Clive Willows said the company has increased clientele from all over the world since its inception in 1982.
The company also imparts skills locally and abroad through a continuous training programme.
“We ’ve given back to is a Zimbabwe and to the world qualified people that can get a job virtually anywhere that we’ve trained. Currently we’ve got two people from Equatorial Guinea that we’re training,” said Mr Willows.
“Two ladies that we trained left recently and are now doing refrigeration at Choppies.”
Mr Willows paid tribute to the Government’s industry package through the Dimaf.
“We would not have been able to achieve this last leg without Dimaf. For now we’re interested in going to South Africa to meet new partners and get investments,” he said.
Mr Willows, however, said the company was facing delays in importing steel, their main input, which is presently held up at the border.
Minister Bimha said plans were underway to increase the Dimaf scheme so as to assist more ailing firms.
He acknowledged that the influx of cheap goods and lack of funding to recapitalise operations and retool were reflecting badly on companies’ operations.
As such, the expanded package would be more accessible to the distressed industries, said Bimha.
“We want to revisit the issue of Dimaf in terms of making it bigger and more accessible. I’m sure we can do that so that we can continue to have companies accessing a little bit of funding and making a difference to companies,” he said.
Companies hardest hit by the economic challenges of the past decade were mainly located in Bulawayo, once the country’s industrial hub that employed thousands of people. — @
The dry spell has forced villagers to embark on selling firewood which has resulted in serious deforestation. As one drives along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls road after Dete eye-catching huge stacks of firewood are seen by the roadside. Unfortunately, there is no reforestation of the hardwood known as Mopani which takes years to grow. Picture by Eliah Saushoma
Minister Mike Bimha