Zimbabwe: Beta Bricks Embraces Devolution Agenda

BETA Bricks has embraced Government devolution agenda by decentralising its operations outside Harare, chief executive of its holdings company Godfrey Manhambara said.

BETA would open a plant in Mutare by February next year and another one in Matabeleland North in 2023, Mr Manhambara said during the ceremonial ground breaking of the US$10 million brick plant in Melfort, about 40 km east Harare on Friday.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga was the guest of honour at the event also attended Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza, traditional chiefs and several senior Government officials.

Implementation of devolution emphasise regional economic development. This, therefore, entails the development and tracking economic activities at district and provincial levels; hence the need for developing and monitoring of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) statistics at district and provincial levels. Provinces will be required to co-ordinate and monitor the development of such statistics in their respective jurisdictions with technical assistance of the relevant Government agencies.

The national GDP will be disaggregated to the provincial level for competitiveness purpose. The provincial management of the economy entails working closely with the private sector to capture data and understanding their requirements.

"Mindful of Government's drive towards devolution and the need to serve our customers efficiently, BETA Bricks has also started work to decentralise production from Harare and will be commissioning a plant in Mutare by February 2022 and another one in Matabeleland North by April 2023," said Mr Manhambara.

"Beta Holdings is here for the long haul. The significance of this ground breaking (ceremonial) ceremony goes beyond just the start of a new project--it is a signal to the world that Zimbabwe's home grown companies are ready in modern factories and thus would offer world class products to the Zimbabwean and regional markets in competition with the foreign investors that may wish to participate in the sector."

Mr Manhambara noted infrastructure development was the single largest signal of economic development and BETA was aware of its key role in providing adequate infrastructural inputs capacity, especially as the country positions itself to become a middle income economy by 2030.

"This plant which we are launching today has come out of growing realisation that there is huge supply gap in the market, as evidenced by the fact that customers currently have to endure long leads times to receive the clay brick product," said Mr Manhambara.

The Melfort plant will produce 150 million bricks per annum.

The company commenced operations in 1953 in Mt Hampden as Alpha Bricks before changing name to Beta. In 2011, Beta opened its second factory and in 2012, the group made its first in road into becoming a diversified infrastructural inputs group with the commissioning of the state of art concrete roof tile factory in Mt Hampden. In 2015, the BETA group invested in logistics business while in 2016, the company bought Msasa Bricks and integrated it into Beta Concrete. Last year the group invested in aggregates factory in Svisva, Goromonzi North. "Since 2010, we have invested over US$40 million in our expansion and upgrade projects as we have taken advantage of this policy space to upgrade key machinery and equipment so as to position the group to compete not only in the local market but regional as well."

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