ED commissions US$20m Pepsi plant

The Sunday Mail

Norman Muchemwa

President Emmerson Mnangagwa Friday commissioned a US$20 million Varun Beverages additional plant with three lines of production at the company’s premises in Harare, to complement the US$30 million state-of-the-art facility.

The commissioning comes within 18 months since he commissioned the first phase in June, 2018.

Since the first commissioning, production has increased from 13 million bottles to 45 million bottles annually.

The three lines of production commissioned Friday include cane manufacturing, plastic bottles and preforms manufacturing and will lead to increased production ahead of the festive season.

Officially opening the additional plant, President Mnangagwa said the investment is a sign of confidence the organisation has in doing business in the country.

He said the investment feeds well in attainment of Vision 2030 of becoming an upper-middle-income economy.

“In 2018, I commissioned a US$20 million bottling plant and today, I congratulate and applaud Varun Beverages, for establishing yet another state-of-the-art plant and additional production lines with a total investment of US$20 million. This additional investment shows the continued trust and confidence Varun has in doing business in Zimbabwe,” said the President.

“The investment feeds into our national Vision 2030 and compliments milestones committed in the 2020 National Budget; gearing for higher productivity, growth and job creation, especially for women and youths.”

The new technology, said the President, will promote production efficiencies and boost exports.

He added that this investment is also an indication that Zimbabwe is “open for business”.

“The state-of-the-art equipment represent new technologies which will ultimately promote production efficiencies and boost export earnings. The current re-tooling exercise by many in business need to be informed and guided by the desire to harness new and appropriate technologies.

“The establishment of these plants by Varun Beverages is a testimony that Zimbabwe is open for business and dialogue. As Government, we are confident that through such investments, more investors will commit themselves to exploiting opportunities in other sectors of our economy such as manufacturing, agriculture, mining, tourism, energy, ICT and general infrastructure development,” the President said.

Government, he added, will also continue to create an enabling environment to ease the convenience and cost of doing business and ensure the country is a safe and attractive destination.

He urged the business sector to leverage on the re-engagement policy which is gaining traction and momentum.

Further, said President Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) that has gone through both houses of Parliament will go a long way in facilitating investment in the country.

The President promised Varun Beverages commercial land they requested so that they can venture into full-time commercial farming.

Varun Beverages is one of 39 Indian companies registered in Zimbabwe and the President warned those sitting on some of the investment deals to act or ship out.

The Acting Minister of Industry and Commerce, Ambassador Cain Mathema, hailed the investment by Varun Beverages saying these are fruits of economic policies being spearheaded by President Mnangagwa.

The company now directly employ 1 000 workers and additional 1 500 women who are working as their vendors countrywide.