Nqobile Bhebhe, Senior Business Reporter
AN emerging Bulawayo paints manufacturing firm, Asher Paints, is working on boosting its production capacity as it moves to claim its share of the domestic market.
The firm, which scooped the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) Micro, Small to Medium Enterprises (MSMES) of the year (2021), has been supplying big companies and individuals with paint.
Asher Paints director, Mr Bothwell Nhire said they have identified a gap in the market that they are eager to exploit. “We are now penetrating the domestic household market. We have been concentrating on corporates but we have realised that despite the competition, there is a gap that we can take advantage of,” said Mr Nhire.
The firm has 12 workers in the manufacturing side and plans to expand to 30 in the next 12 months.
“In May we manufactured more than 50 000 litres of paint largely boosted by projects we got from Sino-Hydro expansion works. If we could continue on that trajectory, we will realise a huge growth,” he added.
Mr Nhire said shortage of foreign currency to buy raw materials was the major challenge his company faces.
He however, said the company was participating in the weekly Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe auction system but was not getting enough forex to meet its requirements.
“Like any other business we are facing working capital challenges as we are not getting enough forex to import raw materials. For instance, if your requirements are US$20 000 you are at times allocated US$5 000, so you are not in a position to produce the quantities you require,” said Mr Nhire.
On winning the award, he said he was grateful for being recognised by the chamber, which is an encouragement.
“We are not members of ZNCC but we won their award and to us it shows that they have noticed our quality products through projects that we have been handling. To us it’s confirmation that people are noticing what we are doing hence the recognition ,” he said.
Mr Nhire said the firm has been operating for three years now and the award is an confirmation that the company is growing.
“Our sector is dominated by big companies, which also claim a huge share of the market but we have managed to claim our share and also create employment. We thank ZNCC and stakeholders for the award, which places us in the spotlight.”
Mr Nhire extended his gratitude to clients saying the company has customers as far as the United Kingdom who buy paints online for local use.
“On raw materials, we procure some abroad and the bulk locally thereby supporting local industry,” he said.
Mr Nhire urged other emerging businesspeople to continue working hard despite the challenges saying the future is bright for business.
“Young people like us have a lot that they can do to grow business and should not stop dreaming and planning. We are driven by our dreams,” he said.