THE textile sector has indicated that it requires at least $20 million to revive the industry currently reeling under low capitalisation levels and an influx of cheap imports.
The Zimbabwe Textile Manufacturers’ Association vice-president Freedom Dube told Southern Eye Business that the sector was in the intensive care unit and the government should create an enabling environment to save it from total collapse.
“The textile sector is in the doldrums and a lot needs to be done to bring it back into life,” he said.
“Many companies in the sector are under judicial management while others are not operating or have been closed altogether. To revive the sector in Matabeleland alone, we need not less than $20 million. Some of the money will go towards retooling because we are using obsolete machinery.”
He said both the textile and clothing sectors were compiling a report about the status of the industry and they would submit it to the government before the end of 2015. He lamented that the value chain had been broken as cotton farmers had moved to more viable cash crops.
The industry, Dube said, used to employ about 20 000 people, but currently has just above 3 000 workers.
He said they needed to invest in the new technologies to remain competitive and the government should help save the industry from total collapse.
Thousands of jobs have been lost in the clothing and textile industry in the last decade due to the economic crisis.
Karina Textiles, David Whitehead Textiles Limited, Merlin, Travan Textiles and National Blankets, which were some of the largest players in the industry, are under judicial management while scores of clothing firms have trimmed jobs as the economy continues to be blighted by unrelenting economic turmoil.
Lasker Brothers (Pvt) Ltd, a historic Bulawayo textile company, was placed under liquidation after failing to settle debts of more than $6 million.
The firms that are currently operational have downsized. Several firms such as Merlin and National Blankets, which employed around 2 000 workers at their peak, currently operate at below 20% capacity.
The $27 million Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund, which was created in 2010 to help companies retool, failed to turn them around.