Quest Mo­tors ca­pac­ity util­i­sa­tion falls

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Ti­nashe Ma­kichi Harare Bureau

QUEST Mo­tors’ ca­pac­ity util­i­sa­tion has fallen to be­low 5 per­cent due to its fail­ure to make for­eign pay­ments for crit­i­cal raw ma­te­ri­als.

In an in­ter­view with­our Harare Bureau last week, Quest Mo­tors chief ex­ec­u­tive Ta­lik Adam said this is de­spite the fact that the com­pany falls un­der the man­u­fac­tur­ing cat­e­gory which is given top pri­or­ity on the Re­serve Bank of Zim­babwe im­port pri­or­ity list.

“By virtue of us be­ing a man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany we are au­to­mat­i­cally on top of the RBZ’s pri­or­ity list but we’ve been fac­ing chal­lenges in procur­ing crit­i­cal raw ma­te­ri­als due to chal­lenges in mak­ing for­eign pay­ments. That has also seen our ca­pac­ity go­ing down to be­low 5 per­cent.

“It’s un­for­tu­nate that this is hap­pen­ing at a time when we need to pro­cure more knocked down kits and spares for our busi­ness but we re­main pos­i­tive as we’re go­ing to­wards the end of the year,” said Mr Adam.

The RBZ re­cently fur­ther re­vised the im­port pri­or­ity list mov­ing tu­ition fees and stu­dent liv­ing ex­penses and cash im­por­ta­tion to the top list.

The list which started off with six items has now grown to nine to in­clude, cash im­por­ta­tion, school fees and re­mit­tances of salaries for Zim­bab­wean diplo­mats sta­tioned abroad.

The pri­or­ity list was meant to en­sure fair and eq­ui­table dis­tri­bu­tion of for­eign cur­rency re­serves to pri­or­ity ar­eas within the coun­try and the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor was top of the list.

“On the back of the cur­rent chal­lenges we’re fac­ing I’m still call­ing for more Gov­ern­ment sup­port for our op­er­a­tions to thrive and we’ll keep singing that song,” said Mr Adam.

Ad­dress­ing the Par­lia­men­tary Port­fo­lio Com­mit­tee on Trans­port and In­fra­struc­ture early this year Mr Adam said the re­vival of the coun­try’s ve­hi­cle as­sem­bling sec­tor can be back­bone for Zim­babwe’s economic turn­around.

He said line min­istries and paras­tatals have con­tin­ued to defy a direc­tive is­sued by the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent and Cab­i­net through a cir­cu­lar in 2011 com­pelling pur­chase of mo­tor ve­hi­cles from lo­cal assem­bly plants by Gov­ern­ment de­part­ments and Paras­tatals, an in­dus­try player said.

The cir­cu­lar di­rected that any de­vi­a­tion from this norm needs to get au­thor­ity from the Gov­ern­ment be­cause lo­cal as­sem­blers have been strug­gling due to low vol­umes, while hundreds of mil­lions of dol­lars are wired to for­eign car firms an­nu­ally. The direc­tive on ve­hi­cle pro­cure­ment was sent out to 23 Gov­ern­ment Min­istries and two pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions.

“My fac­tory, when it was work­ing at full ca­pac­ity on a sin­gle eight-hour shift we were pro­duc­ing be­tween 12 000 and 15 000 ve­hi­cles a month, and was em­ploy­ing close to 15 000 peo­ple. We have tried at times to kick­start it end­ing up with 12 000 ve­hi­cles sit­ting in my plant and with­out be­ing able to pay the sup­pli­ers for it. It has cre­ated ma­jor prob­lems. And the irony of it is we’ve had the ve­hi­cles sit­ting there but Gov­ern­ment de­part­ments have con­tin­u­ously im­ported ve­hi­cles even the mod­els that we are man­u­fac­tur­ing,” said Mr Adam.

He said de­spite the fact that Quest Mo­tors is pro­duc­ing brands like Fo­ton Turn­land lo­cally, the Gov­ern­ment im­ported about 600 units of the same brand from China.

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