ED arrives for Bulawayo double schedule President Mnangagwa chats with the Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Judith Ncube on his arrival at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport yesterday

Nqobile Bhebhe/Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Chronicle Writers

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa arrived in Bulawayo late yesterday to preside over the official commissioning this morning of the new US$30 million state-of-the-art Baker’s Inn factory in the city’s Belmont industrial area, one of the shining tangible exhibits of the Second Republic’s re-industrialisation drive.

Later, the President is scheduled to officiate at the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) pass-out parade at Ntabazinduna Training Depot in Umguza District, Matabeleland North Province.

President Mnangagwa arrived at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport just after 5pm abode an Air Zimbabwe plane and was welcomed by the Bulawayo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Judith Ncube; Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi, his deputy Norbet Mazungunye, service chiefs and the Zanu-PF Bulawayo leadership led by chairman Cde Jabulani Sibanda.

The commissioning of the giant Baker’s Inn factory, which has the capacity to produce approximately 160 000 loaves of bread daily, marks a significant investment by the diversified Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX)-listed group, Innscor Africa Limited, buttressing the renewed business sentiment in the city.

The development is in line with the Second Republic’s efforts to revitalise the city’s industrial sector and reinforces President Mnangagwa’s assertion that “Zimbabwe is open for business”.

The transformation of Bulawayo is vital for Zimbabwe’s overall development, as outlined in the National Development Strategy 1 (2021-2025), which builds momentum towards an upper-middle-income economy by 2030.

Bulawayo Metropolitan Provincial Economic Development Plan (PEDP) aligns with the national strategy, focusing on leveraging key advantages to attract significant investments, especially in manufacturing sectors as part of restoring job opportunities and re-energising value chains.

Once a thriving industrial hub known for textiles, leather, meat processing, pharmaceuticals, and cement, Bulawayo now aims to reclaim its former glory riding on the improved ease of doing business reforms ushered in by the Second Republic.

Commenting on today’s programme, Industry and Commerce Minister, Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu said the massive investment by Baker’s Inn demonstrates the close collaboration between the Government and the private sector to enhance the country’s economy.

He expressed excitement about the private sector’s response to President Mnangagwa’s call for industrialisation and modernisation of factories, emphasising that it signifies Zimbabwe’s openness to business and a conducive investment climate.

“We are excited as a Government that the private sector is taking heed of President Mnangagwa’s call to upscale industrialisation and modernisation of factories. It’s a strong message that ‘Zimbabwe is Open to Business’ and the investment climate is conducive,” said Minister Ndlovu.

“The level of automation as typified by the number of robots in the factory is amazing. I am told in Africa, there is one factory in South Africa that comes close to Bakers Inn factory.

“What excites us even more is that the factory is in Bulawayo. Nationally, Baker’s Inn bread’s biggest manufacturing plant is in , a further indication that the city is ripe for investment.”

Bulawayo industrialist, Mr Jospeh Gunda, described the investment as a game-changer for the city, a milestone to catapult and transform the city’s industrial sector.

“This is a positive development for the city in terms of investment. I have seen the plant and it has cutting-edge machinery, which speaks of real technological advancement,” said Mr Gunda.

“The technology will no doubt cut production costs and boost efficiency and customers will get competitive quality products. For Bulawayo, it’s a massive investment as it aligns with the Government’s thrust of reviving the city to regain its manufacturing status.

“Downstream industries in rubber and packaging are set to benefit from spin-offs. Therefore, it’s a positive move for the city and we firmly hope that the Government will expedite its retooling funding for other manufacturing sectors.”

President Mnangagwa has consistently emphasised the importance of innovation, industrialisation, and modernisation in driving Zimbabwe’s economic transformation.

The country’s re-industrialisation drive buttresses the broader domestic manufacturing rebound, and to demonstrate his passion for industrialisation, President Mnangagwa has been visiting companies in Bulawayo to engage and listen to challenges facing the country’s firms, and pledging more support.

He has also expressed excitement about the re-industrialisation drive and commended private sector leaders for embracing innovation to drive their resuscitation.

The highly automated plant is located in the Belmont industrial area and can produce 8 000 loaves of bread per hour, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In its third quarter ended March 31, 2024 update, Innscor noted that from a manufacturing perspective, the Bulawayo bakery operation is now operating at full capacity and has yielded significantly improved loaf quality and consistency.

It said loaf volumes within the Bakeries division closed 16 percent ahead of the comparative nine-month period, enhanced by a consistent flour price, and the maintenance of a convenient exit price point to the consumer, notwithstanding the change in the VAT status of the product during the quarter under review.

The group’s investment drive underpinned the overall volume trajectory, with focus being deployed on expanding plant capacities, and enhancing manufacturing capabilities and product extensions, while route-to-market initiatives continued to be refined to drive volume into new markets.



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