AAG worries over Byo economy

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THE Affirmative Action Group (AAG) says it is worried by Bulawayo’s business and industrial woes and will next week hold a conference in the city in an attempt to find ways of reviving the second largest city’s economic misfortunes of the past decade.

OWN CORRESPONDENT

President Robert Mugabe has previously equated Bulawayo, which has seen nearly 100 companies closing in the past year, to a big scrapyard.

But the AGG, which is strongly linked to Zanu PF, said it would not let Bulawayo — a former industrial hub for the country — die, hence the forthcoming conference whose theme is “Bulawayo scrapyard — back to industrial hub,” slated for October 15.

AAG national president Keith Guzah said the conference would mainly focus on coming with initiatives of attracting investment in the city currently saddled by a myriad of challenges chief among those being erratic power suppliers and water shortages.

“While there is need for manufacturing industry to be revived countrywide, there is greater urgent need to focus on Bulawayo as it is the home to the most critical manufacturing service,” Guzah said.

“Rigorous investment promotion targeting Bulawayo-based companies will go a long way in restarting the manufacturing sector,” he said.

Industry capacity according to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), fell to 39,6% this year from 44% and Bulawayo is the most hit after recording 85 company closures in the period chief due to constraints in working capital and antiquated machinery coupled with huge debts.

CZI is also hosting an annual congress in the city to address challenges that industry is currently battling.

Bulawayo Business Arise, another local business lobby group, is set to host an investment conference in Bulawayo next month as part of finding strategies to revive defunct industry in Bulawayo.