Sikhulekelani Moyo, Business Reporter
COMPANIES in the foundry industry are targeting to increase capacity utilisation to 80 percent by the end of the year following the Government’s interest in supporting the multi-million industry, an official has said.
The foundries sector is presently operating at 40 percent capacity utilisation.
In December last year, the Zimbabwe Institute of Foundries (ZIF) held an indaba in Bulawayo where stakeholders raised issues that affects foundry operations, among them shortage of raw materials and high production cost.
In an interview this week, ZIF chief operations officer Mr Dosman Mangisi said the indaba was a great success as the Government was working tirelessly towards improving the operation of the foundry industry.
The Government’s commitment to promoting the operations of companies in the foundry sector, he said has started bearing fruits as seen by the ban of chrome ore exports.
“Foundry in Zimbabwe should be operating at 80 percent by end of 2022 and this can only be achieved through the Government’s support on the ban of scrap metal export and enforcing policies which can allow the foundry industry to buy inputs like coke and other local products in local currency and reducing cost of doing business,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s foundries were operating at 40 percent due to shortage of raw materials and this has resulted to unemployment as some firms in the sector were operating once or twice a week.
“Metal casting industry was the biggest employer operating on shifts but due to reduced operational capacity, the industry now employs few people. Therefore, by end of this year the industry should be able to provide jobs to at least 30 to 50 percent of people it used to employ as we are looking forward to increasing operational capacity,” said Mr Mangisi.
He said the foundry sector was seeking to improve human capital development through engaging relevant institutions of higher learning to work together in providing skills on metal casting.
Mr Mangisi said ZIF would fully engage the Government to come up with key strategic policies on metal beneficiation as many countries have shown interest in Zimbabwean metals. “Botswana is eager to have Zimbabwean metal products and this is possible only if the Government rallies behind with policies that promote the growth and development of the sector.
“This alone will see the appreciation of our local currency because we will have more exports to the region and globally which will also reduce the need of foreign currency to buy raw materials,” he said.
“Also, the South Africa Institution of Foundry has already contacted Zimbabwe seeking some synergies to develop Zimbabwean foundry in technology side and the World Foundry Organisation has offered membership to us as you may be aware that Zimbabwe have best key base metal that drive the foundry industry in the world.” – @SikhulekelaniM1.