Only 8,000 workers now employed in the textile industry from 40,000, unions reveal

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THE textile industry will soon close down if the government continues to delay extending the clothing manufacturers rebate by another 12 months, industry officials have warned.
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, in his 2015 budget statement, extended clothing manufacturers’ rebate facility by 12 months in order to help capacitate the sector.  
Industry officials say the sector needs the facility to be extended again by a similar period.
The clothing manufacturing sector now only employs about 8,000 workers compared to more than 40,000 workers during its peak period.
The sector currently operates at below 30% capacity.
In an interview with National Union of the Clothing Industry secretary general, Joseph Tanyanyiwa, said companies in the clothing sector will also soon send home more workers as the industry struggles with various challenges.
“Some companies have already failed to resume operations after the festive season due to a number of factors,” he said
“Day in, and day out, people are talking about second-hand clothes bringing the sector to its knees.
“There are unscrupulous companies and individuals who escape duty after they smuggle clothes into the country and label them as if they have been locally seamed.
“Our borders are very porous and aided by corrupt customs and immigration officials.”
Tanyanyiwa said the government should also speed up introduction of an import policy that would allow the sector to import textile materials duty free.
“Any delay would worsen the situation and soon the remaining companies will soon close shop,” he said.
“As the National Union of Clothing Industry, we want the window for clothing and textile employers to continue to import duty free or else we risk the danger of the industry shutting down again.”
According to Tanyanyiwa, more than 200 clothing manufacturing companies have since stopped operations.Advertisement