The Sunday Mail

Priscilla Kamurira and Ellen Sanyanga

Tile manufacture, Sunny Yi Feng Tiles (Zimbabwe) Pvt Limited, is optimistic about its business in the country at its US$120 million plant near Norton.

Barely nine months after the company was allowed to operate in the country, says it is doing well in its initial stages.

The plant, when fully operational, will produce about 35 000 square metres but is already producing 30 000 square metres of tiles per day.

This is in line with Government’s “ease of doing business” reforms that have recorded massive progress as they eliminated regulatory, transaction and administrative hurdles in doing business in Zimbabwe.

Under the processes of reforming the ease of doing business environment, Zimbabwe has witnessed major projects serving as boosts for the economic and social development of the country.

Projects such as the commissioning of Sino Zimbabwe Cement Company (SZCC), the Victoria Falls International Airport expansion project, the Kariba South Hydro power station extension, the Hwange Power Plant, Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport expansion and the new Parliament building projects are tangible results from Government’s “ease of doing business” reform programme.

Speaking during a recent tour of the plant, the vice managing director of the company, Mr William Gung, said besides the tile manufacturing plant, they will be opening a cable-ware factory next month.

“The cable-ware factory will be operational next month. This means the company will employ another 400 to 500 workers on top of the 1 400 we currently have.

“These will be local people as the Chinese people around here are almost done fitting the machinery to be used in the cable factory. The Chinese are not permanently employed to work here, but they are only installing machinery, then after getting their job done they will head back to China,” he said.

Of the 1 400 people currently employed, 1 250 are Zimbabweans and with the remainder being Chinese.

The complex has three factories; one that manufacture tiles, the other cardboard boxes for packaging and the yet-to-be-opened cable-ware factory.

Sunny Yi Feng has lit up Norton and other surrounding areas by creating employment for thousands in line with Government’s drive to create jobs for its citizens.

Chinese charge d’affaire in Zimbabwe, Zhao Baoganga, said it is important to support the Zimbabwean Government and the development of the Zimbabwean economy in general.

The company, which uses highly computerised equipment, says it plans to sell 30 percent of its tiles in Zimbabwe and the remainder exported to Southern African countries.

“The Zimbabwe market cannot consume 100 percent of the tiles that we produce at this plant so we have set up offices in Mozambique, Malawi, Madagascar, Botswana and South Africa. But production will be done here in Zimbabwe,” said Gung, adding that this will assist the country in earning the much-needed foreign currency.

The raw materials for tile making are obtained locally, largely from Mazowe, Chegutu, Selous and Chakari.

Gung said the company is not drawing any water from Manyame River, adding that the water the company uses is recycled.

Commissioning of the Sunny Yi Feng Tiles (Zimbabwe) plant is expected soon after the completion of construction and installation of machinery.

Over the recent years, the People’s Republic of China has lined-up multi-sectoral billion-dollar investment projects for Zimbabwe, covering mining, manufacturing, and steel and hospitality sectors.