BULAWAYO, –Textile company National Blankets, which is currently operating at 20 percent of its capacity, has appealed to the central bank to make cheap funds available for local industry for recapitalisation.

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Struggling National Blankets appeals to RBZ for cheap finance

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In 2013, the company received a $500,000 loan facility from the Central African Building Society (CABS) under the Distressed and Marginalised Areas Fund (Dimaf) but the money failed to change its fortunes.

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Acting chief executive, Freedom Dube, told Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, John Mangudya during a tour of the firm that it needs at least $3,5 million to recapitalise and increase production.

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“If we can get capital today we can ramp up production to 50 percent for a start. Currently, we are producing about 200 000 blankets per year against our historical capacity of 2 million,” said Dube.

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“We benefited from the Dimaf but the conditions were too stringent for example the period of paying back the money was very short considering that our operation is seasonal. We appeal that the financial institutions can relax such terms.”

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Dube said that they sold one of their buildings to NSSA as a way of raising money to pay creditors and appealed to the governor to make cheap funds available in banks so that they can access them for recapitalisation.

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Last August, its creditors agreed to convert their undisclosed debt into equity to take  the company out of judicial management.

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Mangudya promised to address the issue, adding that ailing companies like National Blanket should be assisted financially so that they remain competitive.

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“Competitiveness is the solution. It doesn’t make sense to continue importing things which we can produce locally,” he said.

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Dube said they are currently employing 100 people but they expect the number to increase with time.