Govt to aid Nestle Zimbabwe, promises hard currency

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Phillimon Mhlanga

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has promised to support Nestle Zimbabwe, a unit of the world’s largest food and beverages Swiss -based firm, with foreign currency for it to be able to recommission its decommissioned plants.

He made the remarks after touring the food giant’s Harare factory on Monday, whose operations have been negatively impacted by the prevailing foreign currency challenges.

The severe shortage of physical United States dollars has left many companies in Zimbabwe struggling to operate. Government’s not so perfect handling of the currency crunch, has also pushed inflation in Zimbabwe to a 10-year high of over 40 percent. This has prompted shortages of some basic commodities.

“I had an opportunity to walk around the factory. I was very impressed with the quality of production. But I think what is most impressive is management processes that are in in place, transparent, very detailed. It’s something we could do in government ourselves,” Ncube said.

“I was also able to see some of the machinery that requires to be recommissioned.  Because of the shortages of foreign currency and some of the spare parts, they could not be able to do that. We will do everything we can do to support then and ensure that the plant are recommissioned and be able to meet demand. There is demand for their products both domestically and within the region. We will see how we can spread our foreign currency allocation to support them,” he added.

In the past five years, Nestle Zimbabwe’s Swiss-based parent company, injected over $30 million into the local unit, which was used towards capital projects that included the refurbishment and upgrading of several plants to increase production capacities and efficiencies.

The company also constructed a quality assurance laboratory at its Harare factory and a new administration block.

Nestle has been in Zimbabwe for close to 60 years, positively contributing to the economic growth and employment creation in the country.

Currently, it employs more than 200 permanent employees.