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Row Erupts Over Company Resuscitation Fund

Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube has ordered the Central African Building Society (CABS) to make public the names of the beneficiaries that have so far received funding under the Distressed and Marginalized Areas Fund (DMAF).

The fund was launched in October last year to assist companies that are on the brink of collapse following the closure of dozens of businesses, especially in Bulawayo.

“We have read about the issue in the press. My ministry has engaged the bank to obtain that report and we expect to get that report before the end of this week. The names of the beneficiaries must be known and it is a cabinet directive that the information should be made public,” Ncube told Chronicle.

This follows revelations by the bank that it has so far assisted 17 companies from Matabeleland, who make up 80 percent of the $40 million fund.

CABS reported two weeks ago that it had disbursed the funds to the companies, a fact disputed by the minister and industry players from the region.

Ncube told the state-run Chronicle that cabinet had ordered CABS to make public the beneficiaries for the sake of transparency.

Ncube could not be reached for comment as his phone went unanswered.

Commentator Brilliant Mhlanga, a lecturer at the University of Westminster in London, said the fund has been politicized.

“The issue of the fund is linked to the marginalization of the region,” said Mhlanga.