Fiscal policy anxiety hurts Wet Blue Industries
THE re-opening of Wet Blue Industries, which was scheduled for this month, has been put on hold as suppliers of raw hides await the policy measures the Government will announce in the 2016 mid-term fiscal policy.
In 2014, the Government banned the exportation of raw hides to promote value addition as well as capacitating the local tannery industry.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Mr Patrick Chinamasa is expected to announce the midterm budget later this month.
Bulawayo-based tannery, Wet Blue Industries, was placed under judicial management in September 2014 and was thereafter operating at low levels before shutting down last October.
Wet Blue Industries judicial manager Mr Chrispen Mwete said: “We’ve not re-opened as had been planned.
“At a recent meeting which l didn’t attend in Harare, l’ m told suppliers of raw hides decided to wait until the announcement of policy measures regarding raw hides exports in the mid-term budget statement.
“They’re hoping that Finance Minister might lift the ban on raw hides’ exports.”
Last month, Mr Mwete told this paper that Wet Blue Industries was set to resume operations this month capitalising on huge stockpiles held by different suppliers.
Before suspending operations last year, Wet Blue Industries, which is one of Zimbabwe’s largest tanneries, processed 540 000 tonnes of raw hides.
When operating at full throttle, the tannery employs over 150 people compared to 53 it employed before the suspension of operations.
It is hoped that the resumption of operations at the tannery, which is wholly owned by the Cold Storage Company, buttresses objectives of the Government’s economic blue-print, Zim-Asset, which among others is centred on value addition and beneficiation.
As part of measures to promote value addition, the Government in 2013 introduced a levy of $0,75 on every kilogramme of raw hide for export. — @ okazunga.
The Wet Blue Industries plant in Bulawayo