BULAWAYO, May 20 (The Source) – State-owned meat processor Cold Storage Company (CSC) is making a loss of $6 million every year, stretching over the past ten years, an official has said.
Briefing delegates from World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB) on Wednesday during company tour in Bulawayo, CSC finance director Pascal Marufu said the company was insolvent and was in desperate need of capital.
Officials from the World Bank and AfDB were touring companies such as Archer Clothing Manufacturers, CSC, National Railways of Zimbabwe and Dunlop to assess the state of distressed firms in the country’s once thriving manufacturing hub, which has become a desolate wasteland after years of economic malaise.
“We are not making any profit at all. We are running to save our machinery from rusty. The company has been perennially posting $6 million loss over the past ten years,” said Marufu before members of the press were ushered away from the briefing.
Marufu said the number of cattle being slaughtered at CSC has gone down from 50,000 per month a few years ago to current levels of just under 8,000 monthly, as government struggles to get a partner to revive the ailing parastatal.
He said its abattoirs in Marondera and Chinhoyi have been processing between 450 and 500 beasts per month.
The rest of its abattoirs are idle.
The company is saddled by a $22 million debt which has put off suitors to take over the company.
CSC was at one time was the largest meat processor on the continent, handling up to 150,000 tonnes of beef and associated by-products a year and exporting to the European Union.
But poor management and persistent outbreaks of foot and mouth, which halted exports in 2001, have led to its demise.
Private abattoirs, some of which are hiring CSC facilities, have moved in to fill the void left by the parastatal in the domestic market.