Call for new Byo fund

BULAWAYO - The government should come up with a trust fund to bailout Bulawayo industries as the $40 million Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund (Dimaf) has failed to bail the industry, an official has said.

The Zimbabwe Confederation of Trade Unions (ZCTU) western regional officer Percy Mcijo said the economic situation in Bulawayo has continued to deteriorate as companies continue to close shop while others are being placed under judicial management.

“If there was a trust fund earmarked for the purpose of bailing out Bulawayo being administered by the board of trustees and labour boards which would obviously include government officials it would save the situation,” said Mcijo.

“It looks like the funds that were advanced to CABS are not forthcoming to save Bulawayo because CABS has got its own conditions that those affected companies are not be able to meet,” he said.

The ZCTU official expressed concern that workers were bearing the brunt of company closures.

“As workers who are affected in this part of the western region we feel that the government should show serious commitment in its effort to revive the Bulawayo industry by coming up with a trust fund,” he said.

Mcijo said  about 10 companies in the city have been placed under judicial management since the beginning of the year.

“We had a meeting with officials from the clothing and furniture industry last week and discovered this year alone about 10 companies in Bulawayo have been put under judicial management,” said Mcijo.

The ZCTU official chided the government for failing to rescue the Bulawayo industry.

“The government had promised capital injection in an effort to try and revive the industry in Bulawayo but it never happened. We had expected that by this time we would have more companies employing new employees but unfortunately the companies there are retrenching, while other are closing down and being placed under judicial management,” said  Mcijo.

Bulawayo used to be the hub of industrial activity in the country but in recent years many big companies closed down while others relocated citing viability challenges.

It has been reported that over 85 companies have closed in the city leaving 20 000 workers unemployed.
Recently clothing retailer, At Ready Wholesalers, trading as Power Sales, revealed it was facing viability challenges putting its more than 300 workforce at risk.

Other  Bulawayo-based companies  such as Archer Clothing, Cotton Printers, Security Mills and National Blankets have scaled down their operations while others have closed shop in recent years due to operational challenges.

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