THE Bulawayo City Council failed to sell a single coffin in the first three months of the year, but plans are now underway to have a joint venture with Harare municipal funeral services to form a funeral policy, parlour and burial services venture.
This failure to sell coffins happened despite council fast running out of burial space in the city due to the high rate of deaths
The coffin production unit of City of Kings Business Ventures has a stock of just 14 coffins.
According to the venture’s first quarter report (January-March), no coffins were sold in the period under review.
By the end of March, the unit had 14 coffins. Eight are flat lid coffins, one a budget coffin, one four-foot coffin and a small coffin for stillborns as well as two open face coffins.
“Production at this unit was stopped last year in June owing to the need to re-examine the viability of this entity since it is failing to make meaningful sales with the absence of a parlour. The only employee in this unit S Dlodlo (carpenter) has now been assigned to do maintenance work in all our entities.
“Various companies have been approached with the view of combining forces to run a one-stop funeral shop which will be offering a funeral policy, parlour and burial services as well as coffin manufacturing and sales divisions,” a council report reads.
The report stated that it was evaluating strategic partnership proposals from insurance companies and the Harare Municipal Funeral Services for the setting up of the one-stop funeral shop.
The coffin manufacturing unit is competing with scores of other small-to-medium enterprises.