At least 2,000 workers have lost their jobs in Zimbabwean clothing industry due to closure of the firms or on account of retrenchment during the past few years, according to Jeremy Youmans, president of the Zimbabwe Clothing Manufacturers’ Association, The Zimbabwean reported.
Zimbabwe’s garment industry has been facing several challenges in achieving stability since the hyper-inflationary period, he said.
He added that closure of textile producing firms like David Whitehead and Late Modzone has also badly hit the Zimbabwean textile and clothing industry, and currently there is only one textile producer in the country – Zimbabwe Spinners and Weavers.
Mr. Youmans said the country’s apparel industry is in a state of despair as a duty rebate scheme introduced by the Finance Ministry in 2011 will soon come into effect. Besides, an agreement for inflation adjusted wages entered into by the employers and employees is also adding to the troubles of the producers, he added.
He said the Zimbabwean textile and clothing industry once comprised of 395 firms with over 35,000 workers, and emphasized on the need for a pre-meditated policy to rejuvenate the Zimbabwean textile industry, which also has a potential of generating income and jobs for cotton farmers.
Inhospitable working conditions and low-priced imports of clothing products are the main reasons for deteriorating performance of the Zimbabwean clothing and textiles industry since last year, he said.
Looking to reverse the trend of a steep fall in the domestic clothing manufacturing industry, Zimbabwe Clothing Manufacturers Association hosted the first ever Indaba Trade Fair and Fashion Show from November 16 to 18 last year, under the “Made in Zimbabwe” theme.
The main intention behind holding the event was to generate higher awareness regarding the sector’s potential, to wipe out some of the misunderstandings about the sector’s capacity and ability and to showcase the counter-productivity of imports, while generating general awareness regarding the sector’s strengths, limitations, opportunities and dangers.