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THE Indian government has availed a $100 million loan facility which gives Zimbabwean firms access to funds to buy machinery from that country, a Government official said. In an interview, Industry and Commerce Minister Mr Mike Bimha said finer modalities of the buyers credit facility were being worked out.

“We are still finalising modalities with the Ministry of Finance on the credit facility and we are going to engage the Indians on the way forward,” Minister Bimha said.

“There is a lot to be done first before this loan facility can be accessed by companies,” he said.

The loan facility will help to revive distressed companies in the country and halt further deindustrialisation. Bulawayo alone has seen more than 80 companies closing down in the past few years, leaving more than 20 000 jobless.

About 20 of the 80 companies were textile firms.

“Stakeholders in industry should also have to come up with innovative ideas as far as funding is concerned.

“The role of the Government is only to create a conducive environment and other parties will take it up from there,” he said.

Minister Bimha said his ministry has also engaged business community through the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce to help the industries.

He added that the ministry was working on revamping the Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund to make it bigger and more accessible.

Zimbabwe’s industries are battling with high financing costs. A recent survey by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries showed that many firms were operating at a third of capacity and require $2 billion to replace obsolete machinery and operating capital.

The Government has implemented various measures to revive the fortunes of ailing industries in the country including setting up other credit lines like the Zimbabwe Economic Trade and Revival Facility fund.

Source : The Herald