Several leading companies, strategic to the provincial and national economy, have closed in recent years. The most notable was the country’s sole newsprint producer, Mutare Board and Paper, which employed more than 1000 workers.
Agro-processing firm Cairns Foods, Pine Products and PG Safety Glass also ceased operations. According to Manicaland CZI president, Henry Nemaire, 2 000 jobs were lost as a result. Some 4 550 farmers were supplying produce to Cairns and earning at least $1.8 million annually
Apart from the former employees who are battling to get their retrenchment packages, small scale farmers in Honde Valley, Rusitu, Eastern Highlands, Chisumbanje and Nyanga have lost their livelihood.
Other firms remain open but are operating at less than 50% capacity. They include Border Timbers and Allied Timbers; Quest Motors, Tanganda Tea; Karina Textiles and Kenrose Filters.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce statistics show that Tanganda is operating with a staff complement of 3 749, down from 7 725. MBPM, Allied Timbers, Border Timbers and Pine Products, which were instrumental in the timber industry constituting 80 to 90 per cent of its produce to the foreign market have since plunged to a mere 10 per cent.
Manicaland governor Chris Mushohwe said, “The period 2000 to date has witnessed a sharp decline in production levels across the manufacturing sector. The average capacity utilisation of the manufacturing sector in the province now ranges from 10 to 15 per cent.”Post published in: Business