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Govt, Afreximbank in talks over distressed firms funding

Industry and Commerce minister Mangaliso Ndhlovu

By Almot Maqolo

Zimbabwe is in negotiations with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) among several other partners to establish a fund to resuscitate distressed companies, the Industry and Commerce minister has said.

According to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), at least $2 billion is required to reboot the southern African country’s battered industry.

Without access to concessional long-term credit from traditional financiers such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), Zimbabwe has gone through a process of rapid de-industrialisation as equipment has become dilapidated and obsolete.

Industry and Commerce minister Mangaliso Ndhlovu told this paper that discussions were ongoing.

“We are not making any announcement yet on that, we are trying to put some seed as government to crowd in the private sector to say let us all contribute and we have made good progress on that. We are looking for quite a number of sources,” he said.

“We also have the Afreximbank which has put up a facility, we are still negotiating. It’s not yet concluded, but we are making progress in terms of trying to come up with a fund.”

He said government had also advised the private sector to identify other potential sources of funding.

“It is not government responsibility to do that. We will be playing a complementary role,” Ndhlovu said.

He added that the ministry was still conducting a comprehensive study to assess the impact of suspending Statutory Instrument 122, which restricted imports into the country as authorities sought to protect local industry.

Government suspended the controversial law after a spate of price increases resulted in companies failing to restock.

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