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Group Managing Director’s speech

Your Excellency, the President of Republic of Zimbabwe, Comrade E. D Mnangagwa;

Honourable Ministers here present (If you know which Ministers are coming let us add them here)

Reserve Bank Governor?

Captains of Industry

Ladies and gentlemen

Ladies and gentleman

It gives me great joy and pride that our President, His Excellency Comrade E.D Mnangagwa has reserved some time to come and grace this occasion as we celebrate a milestone in our history.

Your Excellency, it gives me great pleasure to stand before you as we welcome you to our Brand new home and celebrate the grand opening of our Snack Manufacturing Factory as well as our Milling Plant.

Today marks a culmination of an idea that began about 10 years ago about the new and novel home of Davipel (Pvt) Ltd.

Davipel as you may know is the largest Corn Snack Manufacturing Company in Zimbabwe and third largest in the region, which has more than 150 snack manufacturing companies. Our ambition is to be recognized as the biggest snack manufacturing company in the region. We are confident that we can achieve this objective due to our strong brands, our advanced research and development capabilities, our depth knowledge of each local market and very important employees. A big portion of our growth has and will come from emerging markets.

This investment of $12 million show our high level of commitment to Government of Zimbabwe and supporting its clarion call on the need to create jobs, exports, wealth and substitute imports. This investment has created 400 jobs directly. We are aware that the impact on employment on downstream industries especially in the retail sector are massive. With respect to exports, we are currently exploring new markets in the region.

We are thankful to our Government for their support through creating a conducive environment via Statutory Instruments that protect and enable local business to thrive and created space to spur investments into new businesses under the Zimbabwe is Open for Business mantra.

The statutory instrument 64 which was viewed as a draconian legislation by many helped to protect us from stiff competition from foreign companies. Your Excellency, as we celebrate the positive effects of SI 64, it is refreshing to note that Government, through the Ministry of Industry Commerce and Enterprise Development, is consolidating the gains of SI 64 through the development of the local content policy. As a company, we are further gratified by the fact that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development in his 2018 National Budget statement, provided a statement of intend to provide tax incentives for companies supporting the local content policy.

The local content policy, Your Excellency, is coming in to address capacity gaps which are not covered by the SI 64. It is our sincere hope that with this policy, as a company, we will be placed on priority list of foreign currency allocation. Over and above, in line with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, we expect expenses covered in supporting value chain development being tax deductible and reduction in corporate taxes. If these measures are implemented, they will go a long way in enhancing the competitiveness of the local industry.

The local content policy has come at an opportune time when Zimbabwe joined African Heads of State and Governments in signing the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).

As you know Your Excellency, on 21 March 2018, Heads of State and Governments for Africa signed the African Continental Free Trade Area with a view of establishing a free trade area. The free trade area aims to create a single market for goods and services in Africa.

Studies shows that by 2030 the African market size is expected to include 1.7 billion people with over $6.7 trillion of cumulative consumer and business spending—that’s if all African countries have joined the free trade area by then.

In the same vein, recent studies by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa show that by creating a pan-African market, intra-Africa trade could increase by about 52% by 2022.

We are excited as a company that these agreements are coming into force when we are geared to supply our products beyond Zimbabwean borders. It is our sincere hope that we will take a significant share of the intra – Africa trade in our line of business.

We also want to applude your leadership Your Excellency for establishing the Command Agriculture. We are in the corn snack industry and for us to thrive and progress to satisfy our huge market we need corn as a raw material. The success of Command Agriculture is a national success which is also a huge success for us as it has given us plenty of raw material in the form of raw corn. The Command Agriculture programme has gone a long way in helping us access raw materials locally, something which could have given us sleepless nights if we were to import maize in these difficult times of foreign exchange shortages.

As I conclude Your Excellency, let me bring to your attention that we have taken lead in participating in the Special Economic Zone reflecting our commitment to support our Government on the Economic revival initiative. Of concern Your Excellency is the fact that the benefits which comes with one investing in the special economic zones are still elusive. In the same vein, we are concerned as a local company that some incentives which are spelt out in the SEZ Act especially the ones covering labour laws favours foreign companies at the expense of local companies. This situation will create an uneven playing field.

Last but not least, allow me thank our partners, that is, our customers, our suppliers, our banks, etc in every step of the way in the growth of our Company – you are central and crucial in our group’s being and becoming.

I thank you.