IMPORT BAN :MPOFU’S TREGERS REHIRES | Diversified manufacturer Tregers Group increased its workforce by 200 this year and recalled some of its retrenched workers to keep pace with growing business, a Cabinet Minister said.
Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Mike Bimha said Tregers Group was among several manufacturing companies in the country that recorded phenomenal growth in 2016.
He attributed this positive development to the measures that the Government put in place to protect domestic producers against cheap imports.
The Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016, which was enacted in June this year, has been a major catalyst to industry revival in the last half of the year.
The legislation removes close to 40 products, which are manufactured locally from the open general import licence.
The move has already helped push manufacturing capacity utilisation up by 13 percent to 47 percent, according to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) survey.
“The Tregers’ Group, which is into plastics and steel products, has had its employment increased by 200 and has also recalled workers who had been laid off,” said Dr Bimha.
Tregers Group is one of the biggest firms in Bulawayo running several divisions that include Kango Products, Monarch Steel, Tregers Plastic and Zimbabwe Grain Bag. It also has a branch in Harare.
Minister Bimha said Datlabs and Kershelmar Dairy, which are also based in Bulawayo, made significant strides this year.“Datlabs in Bulawayo has had its sales volumes going up with its capacity utilisation also moving from 30 percent to 60 percent. Prochem, the manufacturer of skin care products and household detergents had its capacity utilisation growing from 30-50 percent and its workers increasing from only 40 to 104,” he said.
Dr Bimha said Chloride Zimbabwe also increased its capacity utilisation while Tongaat Hullets in Masvingo is now considering exporting sugar to other countries.
He said other companies that also recorded some positives include Cairns Foods in Mutare, Lessafre in Gweru and Associated Fruit in Vumba.
“The KGV Company, which is into bedding and mattresses, was producing 2 500 units of mattresses a month but it is now producing 3 500 units as a result of the measures that your Government has put in place. Not only have we seen growth in these companies but we have also seen those companies, which used to export to Zimbabwe setting shop here in Zimbabwe,” said Minister Bimha.
He singled out Willowton in Mutare as one of the companies that used to export to Zimbabwe but later decided to set shops in the country.
“While these measures are good in protecting our businesses we also have to dialogue with our neighbouring countries because of other regional agreements that we have in place,” said Dr Bimha.
The minister, however, expressed concern that some of the companies that have benefited from Government measures were overpricing their products.
“We see them raising the prices. We see them not distributing into the entire country. We also still have a serious problem in terms of smuggling at our borders, which is an issue that we want to continue to look at.
Going forward Minister Bimha said Government was crafting a local procurement policy to support SI 64 as well as ensuring that those involved in cross-border trade were assisted to buy locally.