Collapsing industry: Mutare residents demand action

MUTARE residents have demanded that government sets aside US$10 million in the 2013 national budget to save the city’s collapsing industries which have forced thousands of workers onto the streets despite the city being the diamond hub of the country.

Report by Paidamoyo Muzulu

The calls were made at a pre-budget consultation process on Wednesday.

Mutare’s two largest industries, Mutare Board and Paper Mills and Karina Textiles shut shop this year leaving about 2 000 workers jobless. Mutare Board and Paper Mills was liquidated while Karina Textiles is under provisional liquidation.

Mutare Board and Paper Mills was the largest paper-making company in the country, strategically located in the city to tap into the abundant forestry plantations of Manicaland.

Karina Textiles is one of the largest textiles companies in the country and specialises in producing garments and carpets for the local and export markets.

War Veterans leader Alfred Mbengo told the meeting that Finance minister Tendai Biti should immediately release US$10 million to save the city’s flagging industry or Mutare would descend into chaos as workers continue to lose jobs.

Biti will be in Mutare today.

“We are worried that our big industries continue to close and make people jobless because the government cannot inject US$10 million to save the ailing industries. We cannot continue to harp on about indigenising the economy when we are failing to save existing industries,” said Mbengo.

Residents asked government to prioritise investment in irrigation infrastructure so that farmers can produce throughout the year.

They also demanded Marange diamonds revenue be transparently accounted for and a huge chunk of the proceeds be rechanneled back to the province to improve infrastructure and build sustainable industries to create jobs.

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