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Govt pledges support for ailing Bulawayo industries

by Staff Reporter
08 Jan 2014 at 10:36hrs | Views
Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha said government has pledged support for the ailing Bulawayo industries reeling from massive de-industrialisation for the past decade.

Bimha said: "Government is committed under the Zim Asset programme to resuscitate Bulawayo industries.

"Under the Zim Asset programme, government is looking at a possibility of making Bulawayo a special economic zone," he said adding that such proposals have to be put into action as the year begins.

An economic zone status is given to an area which has potential to attract investment, hence is given special incentives like assurance of utilities, low interest rates, tax reliefs and export incentives.

In the past decade, industrial units in Bulawayo has been reduced to mere monuments as most companies have either relocated to other cities or completely shut down, leaving thousands jobless.

ght of economic meltdown and general liquidity crunch.

Bimha could not disclose the bail-out package for Bulawayo saying government will source for funds necessary to support industries in the former economic hub.

The $40 million Distressed Industries Marginalised Areas Fund (Dimaf) which was administered during the unity government reportedly benefited a few companies.

Eric Bloch, an independent economist, said there was need for government policies to align with economic targets in order to revive industry.

"It is critical for government to change its policies in order to attract investors," Bloch said.

He said government's pledge to create Bulawayo as a special economic zone should be fully implemented.

"Government should create Bulawayo as a special economic zone as it proposed to stimulate industrial growth," Bloch said.

Apart from the lack of investment, Bulawayo's few surviving companies have been let down by poor water and power utilities which have had adverse effects on productivity.

Source - Daily News