THE board of Printopak, a subsidiary of printing and packaging giant –– Hunyani Holdings Ltd –– will decide on January 31 whether to relocate its factory from Bulawayo’s Belmont Industrial Zone to Harare citing viability concerns.
The company’s management last Wednesday confirmed to Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube that the relocation was under consideration but no firm decision has been made.
Last Wednesday Ncube held private talks with the company management and workers’ representatives to seek clarification on the relocation. Such a move would further reduce the number of firms in the city employing large numbers of workers.
After the briefing, Ncube told reporters that dating back to November last year, his ministry had been receiving communication from workers expressing concern over the expected closure of the firm.
“Workers felt there was no justification that the factory should close when it was having so much business.
“Presumably, the workers were also going to the media and we started getting enquiries from journalists who were concerned about the de-industrialisation of Bulawayo,” said Ncube.
Ncube said government would explore intervention strategies that could stop the rapid de-industrialisation of the city once dubbed the industrial hub of the country.
“We thought we should come out and see for ourselves so that we assist as a government. We want to ensure that Bulawayo does not continue to be de-industrialised and that workers do not lose their jobs.”
If the relocation materialises, Hunyani would join a long list of companies that have ditched the city, citing lack of business and perennial water woes.
In briefings with Ncube, Hunyani management said no decision has been taken on the relocation but it was under consideration.
The company’s board meets at the end of the month.
Hunyani Holdings Ltd is engaged in the manufacture of pulp and paper, printing and packaging products, and growing and processing of timber.
The company’s Corrugated Products division manufactures a variety of commercial packaging requirements. Hunyani Forests Ltd, Pulp and Paper, Flexible Products and Printopak are other divisions.
Hunyani Printopak supplies cartons and labels to companies ranging from Nestle Zimbabwe, Lyons, Innscor Group, British American Tobacco and Delta Beverages among others.
Last year, the company was awarded an internationally recognised certificate of competence by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe for its high quality products.