industrial.jpgGovernment is still sourcing for funds earmarked for the revival of industry under the Distressed Industries and Marginalised Fund (DIMAF) announced last year.

Only one company has benefited from the much talked about distressed industries fund while the rest of companies that were shortlisted to receive funding are yet to get anything as government and Old Mutual are yet to avail money.

Under the fund, government pledged US$20 million while Old Mutual pledged another US$20 million to be disbursed through CABS. 

Appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Mrs Abigail Shania said the Ministry is unable to speed up progress in the release of funds as the Finance Ministry has indicated is has no money while CABS is taking long to disburse funds to shortlisted firms.

“Conditions to access the facility should recognise that it is a fund for distressed companies and that the bar should be lowered. As a Ministry, we are equally frustrated about the time it is taking which too long. It would be an ideal situation if we could set deadlines for disbursement but really that is not for the Ministry to decide,” said Mrs Shania.

Industry has raised concern that the criteria being used to assess companies that are in need of funding is too stringent and best suits firms that are performing well.

The fund was aimed at recapitalising industry’s operations especially in Bulawayo, the once industrial hub of the country which is facing de-industrialisation.

While the fund is only US$40 million, Bulawayo industries alone require US$50 million.