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Bulawayo Council Offers Investors Free Land

The Bulawayo City Council says it is now offering potential investors land at concessionary rates as part of some incentives to attract investment in the city where businesses are collapsing, leaving hundreds of workers jobless.

Bulawayo Mayor Martin Moyo of the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai says they hope this move will lead to the revamping of the industrial sector in the city, once considered Zimbabwe’s industrial hub.

“Obviously it takes more to revive the industries. The first thing that is required is capital and that is capital to equip the factories, capital to replace obsolete machinery and capital to source raw materials.”

Moyo says this offer is despite the fact that potential investors and established businesses need a lot of capital to run businesses in the city and revive collapsing industries.

He says the local authority will soon hold meetings with company executives and potential investors to map the way forward in reviving city industries and attracting local and external investors.

In its recent meetings, the Bulawayo City Council resolved to purchase products produced by local companies.

Despite these recent initiatives, de-industrialization and an increasing unemployment rate in the city particularly among the youth, has led to large crowds outside premises of the few surviving companies in the Belmont industrial area.

The overcrowding, which sometimes results in violent squabbles among job seekers, follows the closure of many factories and companies in a city.

Trymore Moyo, a 35 year-old man who migrated to Bulawayo from Midlands province in search of a job in the factories, says it has become increasingly difficult to even get a part-time job in the industrial areas due to the large number of job seekers.

“When you go to some of these companies you find that it is hard to get any type of work because they are some people who are acquainted with the managers and these people often try to protect their territory. They will chase you and even if the managers come to choose people at the gate for some small jobs on that particular day, they only pick those people that they are familiar with,” says Moyo.

Another Bulawayo youth, Brighton Nkomo, says he has lost hope of ever finding a job as he has suffered a lot in the past four years due to unemployment.

The closure of companies in Bulawayo has forced thousands of residents to migrate to neighboring countries such as South Africa and Botswana in search of employment.

According to economic analysts, more than 100 companies in the city have shut down or relocated to other cities since 2009.

Zimbabwe says the country’s economy is set to grow by at least 6.1 percent this year though it missed revenue collection targets in the third quarter in 2013.