By Rosylene Sachiti
Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development Minister Dr Mike Bimha yesterday toured Yadah Marble cutting and polishing factory in Southerton, Harare to have an appreciation of the project which will be officially opened tomorrow.
The $18 million investment will be the first marble cutting and polishing factory in Zimbabwe.
In an interview with The Herald after the tour, Minister Bimha said he was impressed by what he saw at the factory.
He applauded Yadah Marble’s initiative, saying value addition and beneficiation is the core of industrialisation.
“Value addition will create employment in terms of processing that takes place at the factory and in mining which is the first stage in processing.
“We have a number of structures lying idle, industries which have closed or emigrated, and now we have locals that are buying those buildings, renovating and equipping them to make progress. This is development in a number of areas and I am very impressed,” Min Bimha said.
He encouraged local businesses to generate foreign currency which would benefit other companies that do not export but require imports in order to produce products needed in Zimbabwe.
“We can only enjoy the forex that we need if we create it. The people complaining to me that they are not getting forex from RBZ should remember that the central bank is just more of a custodian of that forex, which is created by our manufacturers,” he added.
He also urged Zimbabweans to invest more back home to help grow the economy.
“When we talk about building or growing the economy, it’s not just one person, it’s all of us in our different endeavours. It could be churches, co-operative or whatever form the organisation takes. At the end of the day, Zimbabweans are taking the opportunity to grow their own economy.
“A few days ago, I was in Botswana where I had accompanied President Mnangangwa during his State visit. We had an opportunity to engage with Zimbabweans in the diaspora who came in their numbers. One message that came from them was that they want to come and invest back home.
“Hearing such news of what we have seen here will encourage them to do more. If we get five or six investments of this nature, it will have big impact in terms of employment creation and growing our economy,” said Min Bimha.
Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries founder Prophet Walter Magaya said the new marble manufacturing plant and mines would create 3 000 jobs.
He said they hoped to generate foreign currency by exporting 90 percent of their products and selling 10 percent locally.
“We already have orders from countries like Italy, Greece, China, Dubai, Turkey and South Africa and we want to satisfy those markets. Some South African companies have asked us to polish stones for them in our factory,” he said.
He said they set up the factory over a period of seven months, though there were initial glitches which were however, overcome by the ease of doing business as a result of policies by the President Mnangagwa led government.
“It has been easy in the past 40 days because of the ease of doing business but before it was it was a challenge because of draggy authorisation processes. In the past 40 days equipment has been cleared faster. We have had Ministers like Deputy Finance Minister Terrence Mukupe and Minister Christopher Mushohwe visiting the factory to encourage us. The ministry of Mines and Mining Development has also been handy.”
Prophet Magaya said they were adding value to 48 types of stones that include strata, cirrus, red jasper, tengwe gate, diesel, rondonika , red cliff red , kumusha and pudy among others which will be mined locally from their 28 registered mines. Some of the mines are in Mhangura and Kwekwe.
He said they have acquired top of the range gang-saw cutting machines, glue diamond polishing machines.
“We are able to make cups, tubs, salt shakers, spoons, necklaces, tables, stove covers, soap and towel holders, and anything that can be made from marble stone,” he said.
He said they were expecting 40 000 people to gather for the official opening. The Herald