Dunlop still in dire straits


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The future of Bulawayo tyre manufacturing giant, Dunlop Zimbabwe, is still uncertain as the company was only given US$300 000 to manufacture tyres for one specific client.

Contrary to reports that the company had been allocated US$350 000 to enable it to reopen and revert to a three-day working week, managing director, Phil Whitehead, said the company had only been allocated $300 000 specifically to manufacture tyres for the President’s office.

“From this amount we had to import tyres worth US$87 000 because we do not manufacture them leaving a balance of US$213 000,” Whitehead said.

He said they had imported raw materials, which arrived in the country on Monday, but this would be exhausted in four days.

Whitehead said he was disheartened by reports especially in the mainline media that gave the impression that things were likely to improve at the tyre manufacturing plant when nothing of the sort was happening.

Last week, there were reports that the company would soon embark on toll manufacturing for a Chinese company.

“Right now we have a backlog of nine weeks for tyres needed by the police and army. But we cannot supply them. We also have a backlog of nine weeks with our creditors, so they cannot supply us with raw materials,” Whitehead said.

“We require US$300 000 a week, which means we have outstanding orders worth US$2.7 million and owe our creditors the same amount. The last time we received foreign currency was on July 26 and this was only US$300 000, enough for a week. “

Whitehead said the two major problems the company faced were the shortage of foreign currency and arrears with their creditors. This was likely to be compounded by the abolition of the foreign currency auction system and the introduction of the open market system announced by the central bank governor last week.

He said up to now locally manufactured tyres were cheaper than imported ones. But if the open market rate rose to the parallel market level then the price of tyres would have to increase by up to 150 percent.

“Government is our largest customer. Are they likely to accept a 150 percent increase in price?” he asked.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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