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Shortage of specific models and contractual obligations led to declining business from Government entities at Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries, an official has said.

Over the years, Government departments were some of the biggest customers for local car assemblers before they began to shun the locally produced vehicles.

The Government then intervened last year, decreeing that parastatal bosses and state institutions should buy cars from local assemblers in a move meant to protect the domestic industry.

Industrial Development Corporation public relations aisor Mr Derek Sibanda said an export rebate on car exports from South Africa to Zimbabwe had also contributed to waning business.

“Some Government departments also cited lack of availability of specifications for their use like diesel single cab and Sport Utility Vehicles, tourism vehicles, and cheaper prices because of the export subsidy from South Africa. But some institutions like the Vehicle Inspection Department, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, ZESA, National Social Security Authority and TelOne remain very loyal and compliant clients,” he said.

“Some Government departments cite lack of provisions for procurement to replace their fleets due to lack of fiscal space or donor funded procurement which often dictates what make and brand and from where they get it.”

Mr Sibanda added, “Government Departments have used their working conditions, contractual rights and terms of payment, as the reason for them choosing makes and models of their choice and recently, WMMI was, as a transitional measure importing the new BT 50 models cbus from South Africa.”

Since 2009 when the country adopted multiple foreign currencies, WMMI, like other car assemblers in the country, has been recording reduced business due to the influx of second hand Japanese cars into the country which are cheaper compared to buying new vehicles locally.

WMMI is a joint venture company between the Zimbabwe government through the IDC and two Japanese companies, Mazda Motor Corporation and Itochu Corporation. – New Ziana.

Source : The Herald