The Chronicle

Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter

Most manufacturing companies in Matabeleland region have suspended going for annual shutdown in order to boost production.

The companies have not been operating at full capacity the greater part of the year due to operational constraints.

 They have therefore resolved to use the days they are normally on annual holiday shutdown to boost production. 

Traditionally the manufacturing companies shutdown before the Christmas and New Year holidays and resume production mid-January or early February.

The companies use the annual shutdown period for repair and maintenance of plant and equipment.

In a telephone interview, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) Matabeleland Chapter president, Mr Shepherd Chawira, said most companies in the region have not been operating at full capacity due to constraints that include shortage of foreign currency and loadshedding hence the decision to suspend the annual shutdown.

“Most of our members want to use the few days of the annual shutdown to push up production and make up for the lost time,” he said.

He said some companies were struggling to raise enough foreign currency to import raw materials and those that now have the raw materials want to produce instead of closing for the holidays.

Mr Chawira said loadshedding had also impacted  negatively on production and companies wanted to maximise on the few days of the annual shutdown.

He however said a few companies would close last Friday so that workers could enjoy the holiday break until January next year.

Commenting on the state of industries in Bulawayo, he said: “While a few are going for annual shutdown, we are reliably informed that many of them are constrained largely because of foreign currency shortage and power supply challenges. 

“One of our members who received raw materials last week, has not been producing for the past two months, this is how bad the situation is.” 

Meanwhile, CZI projects that manufacturing sector capacity utilisation will drop to about 30 percent this year from 48 percent last year due to negative macro-economic factors that hit the country since January. [email protected]