Mobile phone company Astro Mobile’s proposed mobile phone manufacturing plant is being stalled by the forex shortages in this tough economic environment, said the company’s Chief Executive Officer and founder, Munyaradzi Gwatidzo. His comments contradict Acie Lumumba’s claims that it was Zimbabwe’s former President Robert Mugabe who was responsible for hampering Astro’s multi-million project.
However, Gwatidzo said they had invested $2, 5 million for the project to date as stated by Lumumba. The ambitious project is worth $25 million.
“We didn’t lose money from Mugabe Government. We invested that much and we couldn’t progress because of economic hardships,” he said.
Below are the claims made by Lumumba.
The project hangs by a thread as the new goverment’s intervention might work some magic on it. Looking to the new horizon in this new era, on Gwatidzo’s wish list is the removal of VAT duty on raw materials.
“Scrap VAT duties on raw materials,” he said.
He also hopes the President Mnangagwa led government will provide access to long term funding.
“Access to long term affordable funding to complete the project,” said Gwatidzo.
Gwatidzo further said the project which will be Africa’s first should be granted national project status.
He also said favourable policies to propel volumes are necessary. Gwatidzo also noted that as ICT exporters they deserve as much incentives as those given to tobacco farmers.
“There should be an Increase of incentives on exports not just tobacco alone,” he said.
Last year, Astro acquired a large piece of land at Sunway City Industrial Park for the project.
With the company announcing its plans to establish the $25 million plant, its now clear with the forex shortages crippling the economy, it is like waiting for forever to see the Astro dream come to fruition.