A LOCAL business pressure group, Bulawayo Business Arise (BBA) has lined up an investment conference to help address challenges besetting the industry in the city.
The conference, slated for November, comes hard on the heels of President Robert Mugabe’s statements during the official opening of the Eigth Parliament on Tuesday that Bulawayo’s problems were on his radar.
Industries and businesses in Bulawayo are in distress largely due to financial constraints against high operating costs, antiquated machinery, among other challenges, which have seen companies closing.
In an interview with Southern Eye, BBA administrator George Mukamba said the investment conference was aimed at bringing together the local business community to speak with one voice in addressing the myriad of challenges haunting local industry.
Mukamba said the conference would help find measures to attract investment to the city.
“The investment conference is set for November although we have not yet come up with a specific date.”
“The aim of the conference is to bring business people together to map a way forward on how we could attract investment in Bulawayo,” he added.
As part of measures to find solutions to Bulawayo’s industrial and business woes, Mukamba said last week they submitted a proposal to the government on issues they believed would enable the revival of business and industry in the city.
One of the proposals includes the declaration of Bulawayo as a specialised industrial zone.
According to statistics from the Industry and Commerce ministry, industries in Bulawayo need an estimated $73 million to fully recover, but have been battling to attract investment.
The disbursement of the Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund (Dimaf) continues on a slow pace with only $19 million distributed as of June this year from the initial allocation of $40 million.
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