Freedom Mupanedemo-Midlands Bureau
COMPANIES in the Midlands province have hailed the Second Republic for creating an enabling business environment that has seen them retooling and increasing capacity utilisation, thanks to President Mnangagwa’s “Zimbabwe is open for business” approach.
President Mnangagwa yesterday toured three companies namely Sino Zimbabwe, Bata Shoe Company and the country’s sole yeast producer, Lesaffre in Gweru.
The companies, which are into cement and brick moulding business, shoes and yeast production respectively, have recorded some significant growth and improved production since the coming in of the Second Republic.
Elated residents of Gweru said it is satisfying to see companies like the iconic Bata back in business.
Mr Alfred Sibanda from Ascot suburb said he hopes to get a job at Bata where his father used to work.
“I have seen some of my neighbours getting employed and I hope that it is only a matter of time before I also get a job,” he said.
A vendor, who was selling her wares by the Lesaffre gate, Ms Irene Madziwa, said she has lately been experiencing brisk business thanks to increased activity at the company.
“The town is changing, hopefully more industries will continue to be reopened and more people will get employment,” said Ms Madziwa.
The sentiment was shared among a host of people who attended yesterday’s commissioning of new plants at the three companies.
Speaking after a tour of the companies by President Mnangagwa, Bata Shoe Company managing director, Mr Simon Mutisya, said the company has started exporting its products into the Sadc region.
He said the company has been growing thanks to the new policies under the Second Republic.
“Following the successful launch of the National Development Strategy 1, local companies in the Midlands in collaboration with the office of the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and our line Ministry of Industry and Commerce and various stakeholders have continued to participate in the social economic transformation and value addition matrix of the province.
“The launch of the NDS1 (National Development Strategy 1) is itself clear testimony of Government support towards the development of the comprehensive leather value chain in which Bata is an active participant,” said Mr Mutisya.
He said the company has been playing its part in the provincial GDP matrix.
“The successes of the provincial matrix will build up to more success of the NDS1 at national level and we are part of this as Bata,” Mr Mutisya said.
He commended Government for its support when the company was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The companies in the Midlands like anyone else in the world were adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“On behalf of the corporate world, I would like to thank our Government for the support received to ensure that our operations remain afloat.
“We also wish to appreciate the support from our consumers who continue to believe in our local brands and products.
“Consumer preference for local products is the most important aspect to the survival of our companies. It also enables us to create more jobs,” said Mutisya.
Lesaffre general manager, Mr Munyaradzi Mutsvairo, said the support that the company, which once collapsed, was getting from the Second Republic, has enabled them to grow in leaps and bounds.
He said the company was now operating in 19 countries across Africa with 165 workers in Zimbabwe in the last few years since it was resuscitated.
“We want to commend the Second Republic for the peaceful environment that is also friendly to investment. We now have operations in 19 countries with over 11 000 workers across Africa.
“Here in Zimbabwe we have even expanded and now run an agriculture farm where we have invested over US$2 million to support the country’s agriculture sector which forms part of our value chain,” Mr Mutsvairo said.