Industry lobbyists rope in colleges to assess Gweru firms
INDUSTRY lobby body, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has engaged tertiary learning institutions in the Midlands to carry out a research on the state of the industries in the province.
The research which will be undertaken by Gweru and Kwekwe polytechnic colleges comes amid a spate of company closures in the Midlands province which is home to some heavy industries linked to the mining sector.
Findings and recommendations of the research will be presented to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office.
CZI Midlands chamber president Mr Mathias Ruziwa said: “As CZI we’ve partnered with our local academic institutions – Gweru Polytechnic College and Kwekwe Polytechnic College to come up with a research on the state of Midlands industry.
“Once they’re done with the exercise we’ll have a launch on the outcome and recommendations of the research to be presented to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office,” he said.
“The research will look at the current state of the Midlands industry covering areas such as company closures, capacity utilisation levels in the industry and companies which are retooling.
“The research also covers companies that are doing well among other points of reference,” added Ruziwa.
Official figures from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce show that 13 major companies in the province have closed down since 2009, leaving about 4 185 jobless.
Some of the companies on the closures list are Ziscosteel, Zimglass, Mike Appel and Lancashire Steel.
Captains of industry in the Midlands have lamented the prevailing economic climate like liquidity constraints, high power tariffs and uncertainty saying such factors were impeding growth and development of industries.
Despite the economic challenges being experienced, the Midlands province has in recent years registered new investments such as Lesaffre Group which has taken over took over Anchor Yeast, as well as Africa Chrome Fields which has invested in ferrochrome production while Portnex International is leasing three furnaces at Zimasco.
In addition, Advance Africa is setting up a plastic bottle manufacturing plant in Kwekwe and an industrial park while Life Touch which wants to venture into cement manufacturing in Redcliff have breathed life into the Midlands.
Giant firms in the province such as Bata Shoe Company, Sino Zimbabwe Cement Company, Midlands Metals, Dendairy and Steelmakers have raised capacity utilisation to an average of 75 percent.— @lavuzigara1.