BATA Shoe Company Zimbabwe has invested over US$5 million in plant and machinery, in sheer demonstration of confidence in the economy.
The company recently installed a polyurethane pouring plant, which will produce safety shoes that the company has been importing in the past.
This will save foreign currency for the country through import substitution and also creates employment for the locals.
The company also acquired two new machines namely; a Mostardini for leather platting and a Sammying machine for the processing of wet blue hides.
All these machines are meant for value addition to the leather industry.
President Mnangagwa who toured the company in Gweru yesterday commissioned the three modern units.
He also toured Sino-Zimbabwe Cement Company and Lesaffre Zimbabwe showing the importance he attaches to the socio-economic transformation of the country, in general, and the industrialisation trajectory in particular.
Addressing scores of people gathered at Bata Shoe Company grounds after touring the three companies, President Mnangagwa said Bata Shoe Company is one of the largest shoe manufacturing entities with a long history in Zimbabwe.
He said the implementation by the company of the Leather Development Strategy by value adding products in the sector is testimony that the company is maintaining a leading role the sector.
“I, thus, commend the company for investing US$5,9 million in plant and machinery, which demonstrates their confidence in the Zimbabwean economy.
The procurement of a polyurethane pouring machine, which I have just commissioned today, should go a long way in the attainment of our national target of producing 17 million pairs of shoes annually,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said the polyurethane pouring machine will be producing a new product line of safety shoes and is in line with the expanding economy and soaring demand.
President Mnangagwa said the leather material for the shoes will be sourced locally and strengthens Bata’s participation in the local leather value chain.
“I exhort Bata Shoe Company and other manufacturing industry players to take advantage of the large pool of talented young people in the creative and cultural industry.
“This could be through running competitions for contemporary designs, which enhance your competitiveness and are in line with the ever-changing fashion trends,” he said.
Bata Shoe Company general manager Mr Simon Mtisiya said companies in the Midlands Province are retooling and improving their production capabilities as they continue to serve both domestic and international markets.
“Following your successful launch of the NDS1, local companies in the Midlands Province in collaboration with the office of the Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs and Devolution, and our line Ministry of Industry and Commerce and various stakeholders have continued to participate in the social economic transformation and value addition matrix in the province,” he said.
Mr Mtisiya said the recent launch of the Leather Development Strategy is proof of Government support towards the development of a comprehensive leather value chain, which Bata is an active participant.
“The companies in the Midlands Province like anywhere else in the world have been adversely affected by Covid-19 pandemic.
Allow me your excellency on behalf of the corporate world to thank your Government for the support received to ensure that our operations remain as a going concern.
“We also wish to appreciate the support from our consumers who continue to believe in our local brands and products. Consumer preference loyalty to our local products and brands is the surest way of job creation and improving lives of the communities we operate in.
I would like to say Buy Zimbabwe, Build Zimbabwe,” said Mr Mtisiya.
Addressing the same gathering, the Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs and Devolution Larry Mavima said President Mnangagwa’s visit shows the importance he attaches to the socio-economic transformation of the country.
He said the New Dispensation’s thrust under the NDS1 2021-2025 period are to promote and facilitate the industrialisation agenda with a priority to develop and strengthen already existing value chains.
Minister Mavima said the strategy will also prioritise the decentralisation of industrialisation initiatives in line with devolution and decentralisation.