Wednesday, April 11, 2018

RBZ mulls fund to help local firms

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is working on ways to create a fund that will assist local companies to be competitive and starve off competition from foreigners.
Speaking during a workshop organised by the Engineering Iron and Steel Association of Zimbabwe (EISAZ) yesterday in Bulawayo, central bank deputy governor, Kupukile Mlambo said local companies needed to be capacitated in anticipation of an influx in foreign companies that would want to set up shop in Zimbabwe.
“We need to support industry; I came specifically because I wanted to listen to these discussions here. We toured a number of factories here in Bulawayo and most of them were in the engineering sector. What fascinated me there was that there is a lot of talent that is there but fund, especially, foreign currency (is a challenge),” Mlambo said.
“What we are trying to do as RBZ is to try and find ways of creating fund that can assist local industry because when President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa says Zimbabwe is open for business he means it. So companies are going to come. But we have our own companies that we need to protect. We want to create a certain fund. We have created a number of them already.”
RBZ has so far created empowerment and productive facilities amounting to $268,59 million to assist local industries.
It created women empowerment fund ($15m), gold support facility ($10m), cross-border facility ($15m), tourism support facility ($15m), business linkage facility ($10m), microfinance revolving facility ($10m), persons with disability ($5m), horticulture facility ($10m), export finance facility ($70m) and university education support facility ($50m).
Mlambo said most of these facilities, except gold support facility, were being administered by banks.
As such, he urged companies to approach their banks to secure the loans.
Following the coming in of a new political dispensation, the government has embarked on a programme to lure investors from across the globe through re-engagement with the international community after over a decade of isolation.
A number of companies in Zimbabwe, and Bulawayo in particular, are in dire need of retooling, as they are using obsolete machinery, designed in the early 1940s.
According to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries 2017 manufacturing sector survey report, companies with older machinery and equipment did not record any growth in the period under review, an indication that industry without machinery is dead.
Output growth was only recorded by companies whose machinery was less than 10 years old.