23 January 2013

Zimbabwe: GMB On Path to Recovery

Kariba — THE Grain Marketing Board has recorded a modest $25 000 profit in the 2012-2013 financial year for the first time in years and has scored a first by being counted among a few paraastatals that have up to date audited accounts.

This comes against the backdrop of a loss of $18,7 million in the previous years. Presenting the state of the parastatal at a strategic review workshop here yesterday, board chairman Mr Charles Chikaura said the parastatal was on a recovery path and needed to come up with strategies to consolidate the growth.

"We have managed to claw our way from an $8 million loss in 2009 after dollarization of the economy which shot up to around $18,7 million in 2011. I am happy to report that we have recorded a modest profit of $25 000 which in real terms is at breakeven point," he said.

He said the current board has managed to clear the external audit backlog while two state of the art maize milling plants have been acquired with one in Aspindale already commissioned while the second one in Bulawayo will be commissioned soon.

From a loss making position to profitability, Mr Chikaura said the parastatal had adopted an aggressive drive to strengthen its commercial operations while retaining its social responsibility mandate of ensuring food security in the country.

He said the sale of Silo products had jumped a staggering 124 percent from last year while its asset base had grown to around $308 million from $51,4 million in 2009.

"When we got into office as a board in 2008 the audits were behind by about five years to this current level where they are up to date. We also managed to hold our first annual general meeting in 80 years in 2011," he said.

The position, he said made it easier for the parastatal to get financing from banks and other organisations saying the current resurgence was anchored on internal funding with little recourse to Government assistance.

In a speech read on his behalf by Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Ministry permanent secretary Cde Ngoni Masoka, Minister Dr Joseph Made commended GMB for achieving profitability and having up to date audited accounts.

"Where success has been recorded then momentum has to be maintained. In the few cases where we are found wanting then there is need to analyse what led to failure and take the necessary corrective action," he said.

He said GMB was one of the key institutions that will buttress the land and agrarian reform programme adding that it remained strategic in national food security through management of the Strategic Grain Reserves.

GMB managing director Mr Albert Mandizha commended staff and other stakeholders for ensuring that it achieves profitability. "The parastatal's history of recurrent losses has now been transformed

marking a major milestone in our business. This achievement is driven by the restructuring initiatives and consolidation of commercial business activities," he said.

The workshop drew management and board members in the parastatal to come up with strategies for the year.

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