Marvo Stationery has appealed to the government to impose heavy import duty to curb the dumping of stationery products, which it feels is suffocating the industry.
Saul Mashamba, the Marvo managing director, said finished products were being dumped into the market at a very cheap price to the detriment of local producers.
Marvo is one of the beneficiaries of the Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund in Bulawayo that have failed to turn their fortunes around as expected.
“As manufacturers, we feel the government should protect us by levying heavy duty on imported finished products so as to save the closure of the industry,” Mashamba said.
Marvo are manufacturers of school stationery such as exercise books for Grade Zero to ‘A’ Level, counter books, graph books and book keeping practice.
It also manufactures commercial stationery such as analysis books, notebooks, files and executive desk pads.
In March 2013, Marvo was sold to management as a way of employee empowerment and production only commenced in November the same year after the workers secured a bank loan.
“Due to the current economic situation, the company has been going through tough challenges,” Mashamba said.
“Most of our raw materials are sourced from South Africa and paper merchants in that country do not offer credit facilities, even after payment for our requirement, priority is given to their local market and most of the times we are made to wait for a period of two to three months before we get a consignment.”
He said despite the challenges the company was striving to remain afloat to save jobs and Bulawayo’s economy.
“Marvo will strive to remain open. Some of the companies in our industry have closed,” Mashamba said.
“We are doing our best to produce quality affordable stationery and most of our local customers are giving us their maximum support.
“As a company, we will continue to look for assistance from the government and financiers for our survival.
“Marvo Stationery is the only producer of odd rulings for Grade Zeros in the country, which are 10mm, 13mm, 16mm and 25mm on both maths and writing.
“Marvo pen carbon book and A3 analysis book have stood the challenges from imports and they remain the best books in the country.”
Bulawayo has recorded massive company closures over the past few years, throwing thousands of workers onto the streets every year.