Nqobile Bhebhe, Senior Business Reporter
BULAWAYO’S diversified manufacturing firm, Arenel Private Limited, is positioning itself to expand exports footprint to the lucrative European markets while at the same time consolidating its regional market share.
The firm is on an expansion drive with installation of modern equipment and introducing a new range of products while awaiting granting of ISO certification.
Compliance officer, Mr Stephen Ncube, said the company is focused on penetrating the European markets, in particular.
“As a business we are expanding and apart from sweets and biscuits, we are now into beverages that include mahewu, purified water and carbonated soft drinks,” he said.
“We are installing the second phase of the carbonated plant.
“We produce for the local and export market and South African is our anchor market. We also export to Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi and Namibia.
“As for the European market we are planning to penetrate the markets and we are at an advanced stage of getting the ISO certification so that we are able to compete with companies in other regions,” said Mr Ncube.
He could not divulge countries they are targeting but highlighted that their major challenge was power supply, which could be a major hurdle given the expansion drive, which means more power supply is needed.
“The major challenge is power supply. We are expanding and bringing in new plants and we need to upgrade our power sources.
“Unfortunately, Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company does not have transformers and other equipment. Therefore, we are sourcing that equipment ourselves and ZETDC will only connect us to the grid then,” said Mr Ncube.
The firm employs in excess of 600 workers at its seven plants. Arenel was granted a special economic zone (SEZ) status, a decision meant to add impetus to the firm’s production efficiencies.
A SEZ is an area in a country that is subject to unique regulations that differ from other areas in the
same country as its regulations tend to be conducive to attracting investment.
Through the SEZ status, Arenel has now been granted an authorised economic operator licence, which enables it to enjoy special treatment at ports of entry.
Last year President Mnangagwa visited Bulawayo and toured some of the top performing companies in May where he expressed excitement about the re-industrialisation drive and commended private sector leaders for embracing innovation to drive their resuscitation.
Article Source: The Chronicle