BUSINESSES that were looted and damaged in Bulawayo during the shutdown protests need $19.5 million to recover, funds which government will avail.
Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube, who is part of the inter-ministerial committee set up to assess the damage of businesses said a support fund would be created for the affected companies.
“We have a duty of rescue to save these businesses impacted by violence. Clearly our intention at hand is to be able to put up a business rescue fund as an inter-ministerial committee and support these businesses. Focus is on infrastructure and to restock,” Prof Ncube said while engaging with business stakeholders at Mhlahlandlela Government complex Friday.
Most businesses that were damaged were uninsured.
“Imagine what our challenge is going to be, some businesses are registered and others informal. We also have vendors who were heavily impacted and we should apply our minds as to how they should be handled,” Prof Ncube noted.
As to when the money would be disbursed by Treasury, the finance minister said the ministerial committee was yet to prepare a report to cabinet which would then pave way.
“We have noted the figure $19.5 million, it’s always about money at the end of day and this is something within our means. We want to give businesses a head start to assist accordingly, as quickly as we can.
“We are going back to prepare a report as the cabinet ministerial committee, then present a report to the president and entire cabinet. Once president has approved on a way forward we will then set up technical committee to manage the disbursements. We will work very hard to have a quick turn around and disburse quickly so people can go back to business and employ others,” Prof Ncube said.
The finance minister in the company of Home Affairs Minister, Cain Mathema and Minister of Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, Judith Ncube, went ahead to visit the affected businesses in Entumbane, Magwegwe North, Pumula East and South, Sekusile in Nkulumane, Nketa and Tshabalala suburbs.
Prof Ncube expressed shock at the extent of damage.
“This seems to be systematic in approach and well organised. That is sad part when people organise to destroy than build. I’m disappointed certainly in terms of how things turned out. People of Bulawayo are very proud, who really look forward with a lot of positive energy. One is surprised with this kind of turn of event and behaviour maybe it just means we need to do more in terms of supporting our youth and inculcating right values for them to become proper citizens and take place as leaders,” he said.
Government will do its best to chip in but Prof Ncube said it should still express its disappointment with such kind of behavior.
Meanwhile, chairperson of the local committee formed to compile a statistical report on the state of damage, Mary Chingonzo revealed a total of 181 shops in Bulawayo were looted.
The breakdown of the $19.5 million is as follows:
In Entumbane 45 shops were affected, value of total damage of infrastructure was $4 139 507.95
Emakhandeni – 10 shops need $388 152.56
Luveve had seven shops destroyed to cost of $1 356 798.76
23 shops in Cowdray Park were damaged at a cost of $2 048 455.80
In Magwegwe 12 shops destroyed to $357 553.07
16 shops in Pumula damaged to $2 651 570.18
Tshabalala had 10 shops destroyed at a cost of $102 431.84
In Nketa 11 shops damaged to tune of $321 426.45
Nkulumane had 26 shops destroyed to the value of $3 104 703.35
In Sizinda two shops worth $15 321.60 were destroyed.
Lobengula four shops destroyed to $3 569 011.38
Emganwini had three shops looted with goods worth $41 951.70
Mpopoma four shops damaged at cost of $24 649.82 while Iminyela one shop was looted to tune of $11 057
Mabuthweni two shops destroyed at $41 951 and in Njube one shop looted for $30 000.
At Kelvin Industrial site, some grain millers were affected and a wholesaler Hamara to tune of $906 587.72.
The estimated value of total goods lost was $19.547 883.45
Chimhonzo said the local committee has received other submissions, which they would fit into the report.
“Most of the shops were not insured while in Nketa, a pharmacy and a clinic were not spared. Areas of concern were shop keepers lost their company documents and shop licenses. They also lost equipment and computers some which had to be imported and their concern is payment of duty,” she said.
The local committee constituted on January 28 by the Minister of Bulawayo Metropolitan, included members from various stakeholders such as Ministries of Industry, Local Government, Home Affairs, members of the President’s Office, Zimbabwe Republic Police, a think tank -Bulawayo Advisory Committee, Zanu PF’s economic department and Bulawayo City Council.