Fis­cal pol­icy anx­i­ety hurts Wet Blue In­dus­tries

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Oliver Kazunga

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

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