Di­maf boosts Byo firms

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Bianca Mlilo

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

Dorothy Mangami

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