Re-opening of vandalised shops restores 300 jobs

27 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
Re-opening of vandalised shops restores 300 jobs The newly opened Sai Mart Entumbane supermarket

The Chronicle

Nqobile Bhebhe, Senior Business Reporter

A TOTAL of 300 jobs have been restored in Bulawayo following the re-opening of seven out of 14 retail shops that were vandalised and looted by protesters in January 2019.

These have been renovated and re-opened through funding support from the Government as well as partnership input from Bulawayo businessman, Raj Modi, who is also Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister.

Deputy Minister Raj Modi

The deputy minister, who has been on the forefront in pushing for the re-opening of the affected businesses through availing his own resources in partnership with the Government and property owners, said the Government intervention was bearing fruit and creating more employment opportunities for locals.

He revealed this in an interview following the official re-opening of the Entumbane Sai Mart shop on Saturday.

Following the destruction of infrastructure and looting by opposition-backed protesters, Deputy Minister Modi said the Government moved in by availing soft loans to businesses to reconstruct damaged buildings and resume their operations.

Bulawayo suffered the most damages, with businesses losing goods and property worth millions of dollars after the looting spree.

About 14 shops were destroyed in suburbs that include Entumbane, Nyandeni Shopping Centre in New Magwegwe, Mountain View shops in Lobengula West, and Pumula East shops.

One such outlet that is now fully operational is formerly Entumbane Choppies, which is now running as Sai Mart, a business venture operated by Deputy Minister Modi.

In an interview with Business Chronicle, he said the re-opening of the closed facilities was a fulfilment of the Government’s pledge to get the affected shops up and running.

Deputy Minister said of the 14 shops destroyed during the riots he has partnered with the Government to have six of these renovated using the same model of partnering with various landlords.

“More employment has been created. In the seven shops, we now employ more than 300 people and that complements Government efforts,” said Modi.

“We started renovations last year in August.

The whole structure was completely destroyed.

We had to re-do the whole building.

After the riots, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce came on board to help with reconstruction efforts,” said Deputy Minister Modi.

“The Ministry of Industry and Commerce brought building materials but that was not enough.

Finances were needed for labour and other expenses.

“So, I chipped in and partnered with the landlords.

The arrangement was that I pay for other expenses and the building owner recoups that from rentals.”

He encouraged more private sector players to come on board and partner more with the Government in various development projects saying there was more scope through synergies.

Following the re-opening of the Entumbane shop, Modi said the business has created about 100 jobs as the outlet was operating on double shift.

“So, that’s a huge benefit to the city,” said the Deputy Minister.

He, however, could not immediately provide the amounts of money involved but said the re-opening of destroyed shops has eased service gaps for local communities.

“We created employment for locals and there is also now no need for people in surrounding townships to travel to town for their shopping,” said Deputy Minister Modi.

“They can get their goods at the same price or less as compared to those in the central business district.

“About 80 percent of goods are local products, which is good for the manufacturing sector.”

 

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