‘Manufacturing sector confidence impressive’

THE Government is impressed by the confidence that players in the manufacturing sector are demonstrating in the economic policies that the Second Republic is implementing, President Mnangagwa has said.

He said this while commissioning new and improved manufacturing plants worth US$70 million at Delta Beverages in the capital on Thursday.

The three investment projects include the soft drink line of Coca-Cola in the Graniteside area which enables the company to improve supply of convenience packs and regain market share.

The others include the new Chibuku Super factory which will improve its traditional beer flagship brand and the high-tech lager beer packaging line to enable customer choice on brand and pack both in Southerton area which were currently constrained.

President Mnangagwa commended Delta Beverages for growing from strength to strength and living up to its promise of continuing to invest in the country’s economy.

“I was pleased to hear that the company has, since 2017, invested more than US$169 million in modernising its manufacturing and bottling plants, distribution fleet, cold drink equipment and ancillary systems. This investment by Delta Corporation, which has been operating in the country for 125 years, demonstrates the confidence by players in the manufacturing industry in the business-friendly policies being ushered in by the Second Republic. Your commitment and resilience in the food and beverages sector is commendable.

“I am informed that the state-of-the-art PET Bottling line for the Sparkling Beverages, which we are commissioning here at Graniteside Coke Corner, is part of a strategic recapitalisation plan for the business.

“This, coupled with the other two projects we are commissioning today, should see Delta Beverages increasing its capacity utilisation and guaranteeing supply to your loyal customers,” he said.

President Mnangagwa, who has been preaching peace ahead of the forthcoming August 23 harmonised elections, embraces and jokes with CCC member and Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume at the commissioning of Delta Beverages plants in Southerton, Harare, yesterday. — Picture: Believe Nyakudjara

He commended the company for being a key player in the Zimbabwean economy, employing about 5 000 people directly and many more indirectly as well as contributing significantly to the fiscus through excise duty, value added tax, income tax and Pay As You Earn.

This, he said, was a clear testimony of the important role being played by the organisation in economic development programmes.

President Mnangagwa urged the company to continue complementing Government efforts in enhancing production and productivity in the agriculture sector by increasing contract farming arrangements with local farmers.

“It is pleasing to note that Delta Beverages provides farmers with inputs, extension services and, in deserving cases, capital expenditure funding, with a focus to improve yields, uniformity of varieties and good agronomic practices. This should see you increasing hectares under barley, sorghum and other critical ingredients to not only meet your requirements but those of the export market,” he said.

“You should not only concentrate on your feedstock but extend your contract farming arrangements to also cover maize, which ensures that the contracted farmers remain productive throughout the year.”

The Government expected more companies in the productive sectors to adopt the contracting model to complement the various farming programmes that it was implementing, he said.

Delta Beverages managing director Max Valela said the investments commissioned were delayed by the outbreak of Covid-19 and applauded the Government for adopting pragmatic pro-business policies that allowed the organisation to thrive in spite of the circumstances and without compromising public health.

Mr Valela thanked the Government of the Second Republic for creating an enabling environment for conducting business in the country.

“Apart from the three projects commissioned today, I am pleased to mention that we have installed yet another line at our subsidiary at AFDIS.

“These projects will have significant multiplier effects on the economy, meaning if consumer spending responds there is opportunity for all our value chain partners to increase their output by 30 percent to supply lager beer, 33 percent to supply soft drinks and 33 percent to supply sorghum beer, thus driving our economy to growth,” he said.

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