Fewer city firms at Mine Entra

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PARTICIPATION at the Mine Entra exhibition next month by Bulawayo-based companies will be subdued because of the multifaceted problems besetting industry in the city, it has emerged.

REPORT BY GAMMA MUDARIKIRI

The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) Company on Friday said it could not provide the exact figures of city firms that had registered, but admitted that the numbers were very low.

“There are quite a few Bulawayo companies which have booked to participate in this year’s Mine Entra exhibition,” ZITF chairman Bekithemba Nkomo told journalists.

“I cannot at the moment give the actual figures because we have not yet done the geographical breakdown so far.”

Bulawayo continues to de-industrialise with last year having 84 companies closing and 64 reported to be on the verge of collapse.

Industry has been failing to recapitalise due to lack of funds with the disbursement of the Distressed and Marginalised Areas Fund moving at a snail’s pace.

The collapse of the city’s industries has seen fewer local companies taking space at ZITF editions over the past few years.

However, ZITF is anticipating an increase in terms of space sold to exhibitors this year.

A total of 5 800 square metres of space has so far been sold compared to 6 000 square metres recorded at the end of the exhibition last year.

Nkomo said of the space sold to date, 82% had been booked by returning exhibitors while newcomers made up for the balance. Foreign exhibitions were being expected from China, Germany and South Africa.

This year’s edition will run from July 24 to 25 and will be organised in conjunction with the Chamber of Mines.

Nkomo said small-scale and artisanal companies will also be represented at this year’s exhibition with a conference for the group scheduled to be held on July 25. Topics to be covered at the conference will include the formalisation of artisanal and small miners, financial support and investment opportunities in the sector, among others.

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