Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed sugar producer Tongaat Hulett Limited, has committed to partake in the delivering of an upper middle-income economy by 2030 as expounded by Government and the sugarcane miller has begun taking steps towards the attainment of the vision. The announcement comes as a huge endorsement to Government and its economic revival prospect which President Mnangagwa is on record saying will be anchored on private sector-led growth while Government focuses on setting the framework under which private enterprises thrive.
This was revealed by Tongaat Hulett chief executive officer Gavin Hudson at the official launch of the $600 million (US$40 million) Kilimanjaro Sugarcane project by the President in Chiredzi on Saturday.
The project involves Tongaat Hulett, banks and Government. It is expected to culminate in the development of 4 000 hectares of virgin land into sugar plantations and create 2 000 jobs in the next 12 months.
It is also envisaged to produce an additional 50 000 tonnes of sugar per year to the company’s output.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Hudson said the project had already employed up to 1 200 people with more expected.
“A total workforce of 1 200 people has already worked over 1, 2 million hours on the project today. . . some 400 hectares have already been planted and a further 108 hectares will be planted before the end of 2019,” said Mr Hudson. “Critically, it’s a broad-based economic empowerment initiative. It is fully aligned with Tongaat Hulett’s commitment to support inclusive growth, development and Government’s land reform programme. The new thrust of attaining a prosperous middle-income economy by 2030 is central to our thinking in this project,” he said.
Mr Hudson also noted that the project was poised for success and was looking forward to handing it over by November 2020. He also applauded Government for its commitment to the rule of law, the protection of property rights, implementing initiatives that focus on the ease of doing business and the clarity of vision “towards a middle-income economy by 2030”.
Of the total investment of $600 million ploughed in the project so far, CABS has extended $42 million, ZB Bank — $20 million, Infrastructure Development Bank (IDBZ) — $20 million and a consortium comprising CBZ, BancABC and others — over $400 million while Tongaat Hulett has so far invested over $50 million.