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Politics derail Bulawayo recovery

In its latest report, A Contribution to the Ongoing Debate on the De-industrialisation of Bulawayo, Zimcodd also cites political instability and squabbling in the inclusive government and lack of funding as impediments to re-industrialisation.

“The biggest impediment to industrial revival however, is the politics of the day.

“This can be identified in two ways. Firstly political instability and squabbling in the inclusive government has not helped business confidence. It is perhaps due to political uncertainty and the threat of seizure of all businesses under the country’s empowerment law that has discouraged industrial growth,” reads part of the report.

“Secondly, revitalisation of industry in Bulawayo has already been politicised, with the country’s three main political parties (Zanu PF, MDC and MDC-T) positioning to score cheap political goals from the issue.”

Zimcodd said the focus and strategy to revitalise had been centred on Bulawayo, without accepting the far-reaching nature of the city’s problems.

“From the above analysis it is clear that a strategy to revive Bulawayo that is outside a broader strategy to revive the country’s economy is either misinformed or dishonest,” it added. Government has set aside a US$40 million fund under the  “Let Bulawayo Survive” campaign to revive industries in the city.

Over the years, almost 100 companies have closed shop in Bulawayo and over 20 000 workers lost their jobs, a development that has put the coalition government under pressure to save the country’s second-biggest city.

Bulawayo was historically known as Zimbabwe’s industrial hub.

All big companies like Zimbabwe Engineering Company, Hubert Davies, Radar Metal Industries, National Blankets, G & D Shoes, Merlin, Tregers Group, Stewarts & Lloyds, Hunyani Holdings and Cold Storage Company among others were based in the city but have since closed or have downsized.

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