Industrialists did not mince their words,Â labelling the Chinese as crooks and unprofessional business partners â€“ a declaration VP Mphoko took note of.Â Ironically, his party Zanu (PF) enjoys cordial relations with the Chinese through theÂ Look East Policy, which the ruling party was forced to adopt after relations with European countries turned sour when the governmentâ€™s human rights abuses began to plummet to unacceptable levels in 2000.
The founder and managing director of Kenrose Filters,Â Ken Dziruni, told Mphoko during a tour of the factory of his unfortunate ordeal with the Chinese. He said he was duped by a Chinese company who sold him a second-hand and obsolete plant as opposed to what he had paid for.
â€œI donâ€™t want to lie to you Honourable VP – the Chinese are crooks. I know the position of government but the Chinese are not honest business people.Â I acquired a new plant from China as part of our efforts to boost operations. The first hurdle was with the importation of the machinery. It took us three years for it to be delivered. We finally received it after Minister (of Industry and Commerce Mike) Bimha had intervened. Also, I had requested for it to be imported via the Mozambican border (Forbes Border Post) but they send it via Beitbridge.
â€œWhen the plant was delivered, I discovered that it was second-hand and obsolete, with some components missing,â€ lamented Dziruni.Â He further informed the VP that attempts to engage the Chinese company over the state of the machinery had been fruitless.
â€œI have tried to meet with the company management over the state of the machinery they delivered but all this has been in vain. Whenever they see my black skin at their company premises, they lock all their doors and Iâ€™m left stranded. Imagine – after travelling all the way to China and incurring expenses,â€ he said.
â€œIâ€™m not trying to be political but the Chinese are not the best people we should be doing business with. Back then we used to never have problems with European countries or their machinery. I bought other machinery from Germany and for the past 10 years, they have not given me any problems but this one from China has never worked since it got here,â€ Dziruni added.
The founder of the countryâ€™s sole filter-making company said their efforts to support government through employment creation and innovation by establishing the company had been in vain after being duped by the Chinese.
Dziruni said the companyâ€™s operations were greatly affected by the deal as he had used a loan he acquired from BancABC, which he is in no position to settle as there is no production at his factory.
He also indicated that the loan is attracting a 48 percent interest rate and fears that some of his property might be attached. â€œThe bank is demanding its money back and there is interestÂ as high as 48 percent. I even showed them the machine to prove that it was obsolete but they would have none of it, they maintained that they had given me money and not a machine and they wanted their money back,â€ he said.
VP Mphoko acknowledged concerns regarding the Chinese skewed business practices. He added that similar cases have been raised in other parts of the country he toured.
Kenrose was established in 1990 with a workforce of over 100 workers. In 1996, the company acquired an automated machine â€“ Three Stage Deep Drown â€“ from Germany at the cost of $5 million. The plant has capacity to produce 1,000 filters per hour.
During its prime, Kenrose supplied filters to the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), Amtec, local buses among other major local firms. The company has 14 awards of excellence, six of which were received from international institutions and blocks.Post published in: Featured