22 May 2017

Zimbabwe: Govt Fails to Support Car Makers

Photo: Jerry Chifamba/allAfrica
Harare (file photo).

Local vehicle assembler, Quest Motors says capacity remains depressed due to delays to by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to pay its foreign suppliers in China and Japan.

The depletion of nostro accounts has created serious problems regarding international payments, resulting in a backlog going back as far as April 2016.

Shortages of the US dollar currently rocking the economy have forced RBZ to strictly priorities international payments.

However, even those at the top of a priority list drawn up by the central bank are reportedly failing to get funding for their foreign obligations.

Curiously however, while the RBZ fails to avail foreign currency to local companies, the ruling Zanu PF party still manages to buy imported vehicles for its operations.

Quest Motors Operations manager, Karl Fernandez, would not be drawn on the issue but admitted that his company was struggling.

"The situation is getting worse on all fronts and this is impacting on our operations," he told NewZimbabwe.com.

The company assembles Chinese models such as Foton, JMC, Chery Tigo as well as Mitsubishi from Japan.

Management warned last year that the company may be forced to close shop, lamenting that the RBZ policies had made it impossible to pay suppliers of vehicle kits.

The problem is threatening hundreds of jobs at the Mutare based firm.

Managing director, Tarik Adams, highlighted the company's plight to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Industry chaired by Zanu PF legislator Dexter Nduna last October, describing the situation as critical.

Tarik said they made payments long back but these were not remitted by the RBZ to the company's foreign suppliers, adding "our appeals to government ministers have also been ignored".

Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa, Phelekezela Mphoko and Industry minister Mike Bimha are some of the top government officials who have toured Quest Motors recently.

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