National Blankets to access retooling funds National Blankets Limited premises in Bulawayo

Sikhulekelani Moyo, [email protected]

MINISTER of Finance and Investment Promotion, Professor Mthuli Ncube is keen on textiles firm National Blankets accessing part of the Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) retooling funds saying that would boost the firm’s capacitation and revival and impact on the growth of the national economy.

The minister said policy fundamentals and regulations are now in place for the disbursement of the SDRs funds which are meant to boost production in different value chains.

Zimbabwe was allocated SDR 677 million equivalent to US$958 million by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is part of the SDR’s General allocation of US$650 billion that was released in 2021 to all IMF member countries.

It is from these resources the Treasury channelled part of the funds towards supporting key value chains such as horticulture, industry retooling, tourism and smallholder farming irrigation systems.

A total of US$80 million was set aside for the productive sector funding and the Government, since last year, was inviting local businesses to start accessing the money to boost the country’s economy.

In an interview on the sidelines of the 2023 Annual Public Sector Convention held in Bulawayo last week, Prof Ncube said from the policy point of view, the Government is committed to funding the key value chains.

“From a policy point of view, we are committed, and we have funding in place and we have made sure that all the rules for disbursement are in place.

“Maybe it’s an issue of tightening nuts and bolts in terms of execution that needs to be fixed,” said Prof Ncube. The textile industry is one of the sectors which were set to benefit from SDRs.

However, recently National Blankets said that they were yet to access the funding, which has seen the firm not producing for some months.

Asked on National Blanket accessing funding, the minister said it was strategic for the firm to be capacitated.

“I will look into the National Blankets case. Even my assessment was that National Blankets deserve to benefit  from the SDR retooling programme.

“That would benefit the nation as well as the regional economy. I will look into it,” he said.
Officials recently told Business Chronicle that they are engaging with potential investors with the hope of injecting about US$1,5 million into the business to unlock its order book.

The company’s production unit is closed with only the sales department open to sell the readily available stocks.

It resumed operations in early 2021 after managing to dodge liquidation having come out of judicial management after shareholders paid all the creditors their dues, which ran into millions of dollars.

The company had temporarily ceased production after being denied a tax clearance by the tax authority over an estimated $800 000 debt, which was later on settled.

However, the company did not resume full-scale production as it was waiting for funding from the Government.

As with other textile companies, National Blankets is eligible to benefit from the Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) meant for the industry retooling and capitalisation. — @SikhulekelaniM1.

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