INVESTORS LET DOWN. . . Byo runs out of serviced industrial land

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Nqobile Tshili, Business Correspondent
BULAWAYO has run out of serviced industrial land as more potential investors seek new space to set up businesses in the city, Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube has said.

Last year the country’s second largest city received an overwhelming number of potential investors, he said, and could not accommodate all of them due to shortage of serviced industrial stands.

“In 2016 the City of Bulawayo continued to receive several enquiries on investment opportunities particularly in the services sector. Regrettably, there was a serious shortage of serviced industrial stands to meet demand. Council had to rely on surrendered stands,” he said.

Once regarded as the hub of manufacturing industry in the country, Bulawayo has in the last decade suffered severe de-industrialisation and loss of jobs. The demise of giant firms such as the National Railways of Zimbabwe, the Cold Storage Company and the clothing industry, which were among the biggest employers, has inflicted a strain on the entire value chain industry in the city. Mr Dube said council was committed to attending to investor interests in line with the Government’s ease of doing business thrust. In that regard he said council was considering reviewing downwards some tariffs.

“Bulawayo has embraced the Government’s initiative on improving the country’s image through the ease of doing business reforms. Several processes and procedures were interrogated and streamlined. These include the payment for shop licences in relation to the sizes of the shops as opposed to the standard tariff for all sizes, expedient processing of building plans including introducing the electronic version and review of several tariffs where the high charges were not justifiable,” he said.

Mr Dube said the council’s operations were being stifled by the council’s expenditure that surpasses its revenue collection.

He said this problem was caused by the failure by rate payers to pay their dues citing that by end of November the municipality was being owed $144.9 million.

“Monthly cash collections averaged between $4.8 million and $5.6 million. Council`s expenditure commitments outweigh current monthly collections. On average, $7,5 million monthly cash collections would cover council`s needs for the provision of services,” said Mr Dube.

“The bulk of capital development projects could not be implemented due to scarcity of capital. Regrettably, service delivery was compromised due to lack of funding,” he said.

Mr Dube said delays in paying service providers due to cash shortages strained relations between council and its suppliers.

He said some of the suppliers were now demanding cash payments before rendering services.

“Cash flow challenges hindered council from paying its trade creditors on time thereby negatively affecting relations with suppliers. Failure to pay suppliers within 30 days has seen an increase of suppliers who are now demanding cash up front,” he said.

@nqotshili

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  • Hariet Mvula

    Thats a green lie there are several empty and shut down factories in Belmont.
    Who is fooling who ? Most of those factories are being rented by churches.

    • TJINGABABILI

      THAT IS TRUE. I CONCUR. THERE IS NO NEED FOR MORE IS WHEN THERE ARE NO JOBS IN BULAWAYO. WHO IS FOOLING WHO! BELMONT FACILITIES SHOULD BE USED FOR THEIR INTENDED USE. HEAVY INDUSTRIAL SITES FOR GOODS NOT HUMAN SOULS MANUFACTING!

  • Lovemore

    This is all good and well but i would like to air my anger and disgust
    at whatever the Authorities that be are doing at Bulawayo Cowdray
    Park.The Roads to Sigodweni and Empompini are no longer roads but little
    dams which are impassible with a motor vehicle,i do not know whether a
    4×4 will be able to negotiate those roads?WHEN ALL THIS IS HAPPENING
    WERE ARE THE PEOPLE WE VOTED INTO POWER?WHAT ARE THEY DOING ABOUT THE
    SITUATION?I TELL YOU THIS IS AN ACID TEST AND WHOEVER WILL COME TO OUR
    RESCUE ON THIS ISSUE WILL GET MY VOTE ON THE NEXT ELECTION. People of
    Cowdray park what are you saying about those roads at new stands?or
    should we call them roads at all lets stand up and be counted.The city council should not blow its money on payment of hefty Salaries and perks but money should go to service delivery.NGO and Government should also help when they see that there is an agent need for intervention.

  • GO WARRIORS GO

    Doesn`t make sense when 98% of the available industrial space is not used

  • BringBackOurFlag

    The town council must do a lot in developing industrial standssince industrial investments will create employment as well as economic revival.