New Zimbabwe.com

Bata looks to increase production 50pc

BATA Shoe Company says it will increase shoe production by 50 percent to three million pairs annually after purchasing a new plant which will become operational next year, a company official said on Friday.
The new machinery would increase capacity utilisation to 60 percent from the current 20 percent at the Swiss-based footwear manufacturer and retailer’s Gweru factory.
“When operating at full capacity, the company has potential to produce 10 million pairs of shoes per year, employing 5 000 workers,” acting managing director, Isaiah Sikwila told Industry and International Trade minister Mike Bimha during a tour of the company.
Staff levels have fallen 70 percent from 5,000 workers in the last decade. The company currently has a staff complement of 1,500 employees.
Sikwila said the company was faced with numerous operational challenges including high power charges which constitute 50 percent of the company’s operational costs and a shortage of raw hides used in the manufacture of shoes.
Bimha said government was planning to introduce a levy to slow the export of raw hides to support the local industry.
“(The government will implement a punitive) levy on the exportation of raw hides, a practice which has starved tanners of their basic raw material and shoe manufacturers of locally produced and value added leather,” Bimha said.Advertisement