Tanzanian milling company, Bakhresa Group, has been granted a work permit to employ a foreign chief executive for Blue Ribbon Industries, Zimbabwe’s second largest milling company, in which it plans to invest $20 million over the next five years.
According to The Herald, the company is currently operating at about 40 percent of capacity.
The Bakhresa investment will enable Blue Ribbon Industries to clear its debts to creditors and workers and allow it to increase production.
One of the country’s leading supermarket chains said recently it continued to import cooking oil, despite government efforts to curb this to protect domestic industry, because local manufacturers, who include Blue Ribbon, were failing to meet demand.
The Affirmative Action Group was reported to have lobbied the government to bar the issuing of a permit to a foreign CEO for Blue Ribbon saying Zimbabwe has enough qualified personnel.
The judicial manager for Blue Ribbon, Reggie Saruchera, said there was no government intervention.
“We placed papers with the Immigration Department and they made the decision on their own. We heard AAG wrote a letter to the minister, but there was no need for the minister’s intervention and so we were dealing directly with immigration,” he said.
“We got the approval; we are now working on the way forward. We are now waiting for the investor to inject money; there is nothing the investor should wait for.”
The approval of the permit and the Blue Ribbon deal shows a marked policy shift within the government which is all out to attract investment and improve ease of doing business in Zimbabwe.
The future of Mugabe’s Lieutenants Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko rests on improving the economy, and they have less than two years to show their mettle.