Minister meets Bulawayo industry executives

The Chronicle

Business Reporter

INDUSTRY and Commerce Minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu will this morning meet with captains of industry and other stakeholders in Bulawayo to discuss critical issues relating to trade and investment in the city.

The meeting is in line with the Government’s vision of transforming the country into an upper middle income economy by 2030.

“The Minister of Industry will be visiting Bulawayo to host an interactive meeting with captains of industry and commerce and other stakeholders to discuss pertinent issues, exchange ideas and map up strategies that will enhance the trade and investment environment in Bulawayo,” reads part of the correspondence from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) Matabeleland chapter president Mr Joseph Gunda said there were a host of issues industry wanted Minister Ndlovu to respond to at today’s breakfast meeting.

“The last time we met the Minister we highlighted the challenges that industry in Bulawayo was facing with regards to forex allocations from the Reserve Bank, which had been the norm and that had since stopped from September,” he said. 

“So the Minister (Ndlovu) had said let’s wait for the new monetary policy and see if the situation may change as a result of that. 

“We are still consulting with our members but there are still challenges in accessing the free forex floating on the market. Quite a number of our members are still not accessing the forex at those rates that were highlighted by the Central Bank.”

Mr Gunda said as an industrial representative body, they have noted that prices in the market were increasing. He also said the CZI council meeting in Harare last week was concerned that manufacturers were still not accessing forex from banks. “There was confirmation that some banks have received the forex for onward transmission to manufacturers and importers, so we are still trying to find out whether that (accessing forex) has happened because a lot of manufacturers are still not producing since their closure last year,” said Mr Gunda.

“We have been told that the failure to access forex from banks after the announcement of new measures in the monetary policy was system-based.” 

Government has identified the revival of Bulawayo industries as critical towards achieving national economic growth targets under its new blue-print, the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP).