A local company starts producing engine filters
Michael Tome Business Journalist
LOCAL company, Mwana Group has ventured into the manufacture of engine filters to exploit the opportunities presented by the economic deficiencies which have seen the country spend millions of dollars on imports of motor vehicle accessories.
The company, which began operations in April this year, now assembles air, oil, fuel and hydraulic filters for all equipment using fuel engines, including trucks, buses, earth-moving and agricultural machinery. .
This represents a creditable effort by a local company amid growing calls to reduce the skyrocketing import bill, especially on the motor vehicle accessories side.
Imports of automotive equipment have been on the rise lately, a position that causes the country to frequently lose much-needed foreign currency.
According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) in 2020, parts and accessories were the 21st most imported product in Zimbabwe.
In the same year, the total import bill for motor vehicles, parts and accessories was $44.8 million, making Zimbabwe the 117th largest importer of motor vehicles; parts and accessories worldwide.
Zimbabwe imports its engine equipment from South Africa, United Arab Emirates (UAE), China, United States of America and France.
Although the Mwana Group has said it will produce at a competitive price, the company still imports much of its raw materials from Germany, China and India.
According to the company, the company’s operations remain profitable to compete with fully assembled gadgets imported into the country.
Speaking at the just-concluded annual conference of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), Managing Director of Mwana Group Private Limited, Kuda Mutenda, said the local market was receptive to products from the business, although it continues to struggle to supply the mining industry.
He further indicated that the automotive industry, if fully developed, would undoubtedly create much-needed jobs for Zimbabwe.
“As a company, our goal is to improve our production until we are able to produce our own vehicles, we started with filters, then it will be brakes, batteries and windscreens, including leather upholstery until we produce a whole car.
“It’s one of the ways we can grow our economy and jobs because in a car there are over 10,000 moving parts so imagine producing this you would have employed a lot of people in the country” , said Mr. Mutenda.
According to Mr. Mutenda, bus companies, agricultural institutions and transport truck operators have been the main buyers of their product, but would like to see more traction towards the agricultural sector and the mining sector which remains a closed industry in which they wish to penetrate forward.
Lately, the Zimbabwean government has been determined to revive the once vibrant automotive industry as part of its efforts to promote the consumption of local products.
Industry and Trade Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza has publicly stated that reviving the local auto industry is one of the government’s priorities.
The automotive industry is considered strategic in economic recovery given its invaluable impact on job creation, foreign exchange generation, added value and contribution to GDP.
This decision will also ensure the development of the value chain.