Biti told Bulawayo businesspeople during the launch that the DIMAF is a five year collaborative Facility between government and Old Mutual Zimbabwe. Old Mutual contributed US$20 million while the government contributed US$20 million to make it a total of US$40 Million.
“The low level of participation of Bulawayo based companies can be attributed mainly to information asymmetry hence the move launch of DIMAF in Bulawayo. The decision to establish the US$40 million under DIMAF was informed by the need to improve liquidity in the market and enable more companies to access funds to retool and capacitate their operations,”Biti said.
More than 90 companies have closed shop in Bulawayo and over 20 000 workers lost jobs in the past year, a development that has put the coalition government under pressure to save the country’s second-biggest city.
Two months ago the unity government set up a Cabinet task force under “Let Bulawayo Survive” campaign to work on the revival of the city industry. This taskforce is chaired by Industry and Commerce Minister, Welshman Ncube and also includes Biti, Agriculture minister Joseph Made, Labour and Social Welfare minister Paurina Mupariwa, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion minister Tapiwa Mashakada, and Youth, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
During the DIMAF launch Biti added that the fund will be channelled to Bulawayo companies through banks and there will be serious vetting of application for the funds by his ministry and by “Let Bulawayo survive.”
The Cabinet task force has to make sure that no companies which are not from Bulawayo get the funds.
Bulawayo was historically known as Zimbabwe’s industrial hub and people used to travel from all corners of the country in search of jobs in the city’s industries, but due to economic meltdown in the past decade most have shutdown or re-located to Harare or South Africa.