Home » Business » Back Local Car Industry, Mushohwe Urges Government

MANICALAND Provincial Affairs Minister, Chris Mushohwe, has said the government should lead by example in promoting local industry by buying locally assembled vehicles.

In an interview on the side-lines of a recent tour of Quest Motors in Mutare, Mushohwe said it was disheartening that Willowvale Motor Assembly plant was collapsing yet the government was a major shareholder.

“We need to demonstrate that we believe in ourselves. Our industry needs our support,” said Mushohwe.

He added: “We want to see government departments and government agencies buying locally manufactured cars. We hope our government will start to put orders now.”

Mushohwe said the goverment could not expect its blueprint ZimAsset to succeed while continuing to import finished products from neighbouring countries such as South Africa.

The minister said it did not make sense for the government to buy luxury vehicles for MPs in South Africa yet the same cars were being manufactured at the same price in Zimbabwe.

He also lamented the lack of support for local industry by local diamond mining companies operating in Chiadzwa.

“We are surprised that local companies continue to fold yet Manicaland has all the resources. Even the diamond mining companies are importing car filters yet we have local companies which can produce such products at an affordable price. It does not make sense,” said Mushohwe.

He cited a JMC double cab which was being sold for $28,000 at Quest Motors which he said was suitable for MPs in the country.

Quest Motors, at the moment, is sitting on a fleet of over 500 vehicles which the management said had no takers.

The company has partnered Chinese motor manufacturers such Foton, Cherry, JMC and Cummins.

Quest director, Tarik Adam, told NewZimbabwe.com that the company was not receiving any support from the local business community, civic society and government.

He said the company was operating at 10 percent below capacity and would soon scale down operations if the market fails to improve.

“We are just manufacturing but there are no takers for our products and we cannot continue to produce and produce,” he said.

At its peak Quest Motors employed 1,300 workers, operating on a double shift.

Mushohwe’s remarks come at a time when the government, which is struggling to pay civil servants, this month splashed a staggering $11 million on vehicles for lawmakers to the country’s 8th Parliament.

In a murky arrangement between Parliament’s sub-committee on the welfare of MPs and a local car dealer, legislators will take delivery of Ford Ranger vehicles priced at about $35,000 per unit.

Source : New Zimbabwe

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