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Zimbabwe Treasury Unveils $20 Million Rescue Package for Struggling Industries

Zimbabwe's finance ministry is next week expected to disburse $20 million as part of its contribution to the long-awaited Distressed and Marginalized Areas Fund as more than 1,000 workers have lost their jobs in the last two weeks alone in Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo.

Treasury officials and the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce told VOA Studio 7 Friday an account has already been opened at the Central African Building Society (CABS) to boost the $40 million fund mooted by the government and Old Mutual Insurance Company.

Old Mutual deposited half of that amount at CABS a couple of months ago and so far just over $3 million has been disbursed to some unidentified firms believed to be based in Harare.

Ntombenhle Moyo, chairwoman of the Bulawayo branch of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce said companies like Monarch Steel (Pvt) Ltd, Kango Products, Haven Clothing and several others recently retrenched nearly 1,000 workers due to lack of capital.

“The situation is pathetic in the city as most of these jobless workers end up failing to feed their families,” said Moyo.

More than 20,000 workers lost their jobs between 2009 and 2010 following the collapse of over 80 factories in Bulawayo, once considered Zimbabwe’s industrial hub.